Join a community garden to eat healthier, work off stress, and meet your neighbors.

Join a Community Garden for Healthy Summer Fun

As America opens up and families look for ways to begin socializing again, what better way to get outside with friends and neighbors than to join a community garden? Not to mention you’ll  save money and eat healthier, too.

And you might be surprised to hear about another benefit – weight loss! An average person weighing 150 pounds burns more than 300 calories weeding and planting.

If you’re not sure how to get started, don’t worry; community gardens are everywhere, these days. Check with your community rec center, ask neighbors, or look for information on NextDoor or other local websites.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, you’re almost certain to find a garden in your neighborhood – many of them supported by Kaiser Permanente San Francisco. Here are five of the biggest and most popular community gardens in San Francisco:

  1. Sunset Community Garden: In addition to more than a dozen vegetable beds, this oceanside garden (37th Ave. & Pacheco Street) has an orchard, with apple trees, provided by Kaiser Permanente. Contact: Lance Mellon at (650) 826-1723 or
  2. The Little Red Hen Community Garden: A collaborative effort by the Friends of Glen Canyon Park and the San Francisco Police Academy, this garden at Duncan Street & Amber Drive has individual beds available for sign-up. Contact: Rich Craib at or William Murray at
  3.  Garden for the Environment:  This award-winner urban demonstration garden spreads over an entire acre (7th Avenue & Lawton Street) and offers environmental education programs in addition to gardening plots. Learn about organic farming, composting methods, and sustainable food systems. Contact: Blair Randall at
  4. Potrero Hill Community Garden: One of the oldest in the City, this sunny hilltop garden (San Bruno Avenue & 20th Street) was established in the 1970s and is run entirely by neighborhood volunteers. Sign up for one of the 52 plots and garden while admiring the spectacular views. Contact:
  5.  CommunityGrows: This Western Addition garden (762 Fulton Street) offers free environmental education for kids and young adults ages 5 to 19 and serves more than 1,000 youth each year. Contact: Barbara Wenger at

If you can’t find a local community garden near you, start one of your own! Organize neighbors and friends, find a location, and divvy up responsibilities. With a little outreach, you can find resources and sponsorships for funding,  construction, planting, community education, and  more.

Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.