Common Ground is community gardening and urban agriculture program established in 2012, providing residents underutilized properties for use as community gardens and farming land for minimal cost.
The Common Ground program strives to remove barriers to growing local food; to promote access to fresh produce for all; to provide and sustain green spaces for a healthy urban ecosystem and to build an equitable community.
There are currently 11 sites—ranging from gardens and orchards to an incubator farm—supporting a dozen beginning farmers, more than 230 gardeners, as well as hundreds of community members that benefit from food donations and opportunities for physical activity.
The City of Lawrence, with leadership from the joint Lawrence-Douglas County Sustainability Office and Lawrence Department of Parks and Recreation, established the Common Ground program in 2012, providing residents underutilized properties for use as community gardens for minimal cost in order to eliminate land ownership as a barrier to growing fresh produce; to promote access for all community members to fresh and locally grown food and to establish and sustain a healthy urban ecosystem; and to build community.
While the Common Ground program had already solved one critical barrier to food production—lack of access to land, participants of the program were continuing to express the need for education and technical assistance to learn conservation agriculture skills for a more resilient local food system.
In 2021, Douglas County received a Natural Resources Conservation Service grant, which allocated funds for the hiring of a full-time Common Ground Program Manager, as well as the implementation of educational programming, direct technical assistance and a beginning farmer apprenticeship program over the course of three years.
With the joint Lawrence-Douglas County Sustainability Office dividing into two independent departments in 2022, Common Ground is now under the umbrella of the Douglas County Sustainability Office, in close collaboration with several City of Lawrence departments.
The Common Ground program provides 9.5 acres of land for community food production across 11 sites, all located in the City of Lawrence:
Availability of plots varies from year to year. Please contact Common Ground Program Manager Umut Bayramoglu at 785-312-2347 or email@example.com for the most up-to-date list of gardens accepting new gardener applications.
Common Ground welcomes individuals and groups wishing to volunteer at the community gardens, orchard and incubator farm.
Watch this space for announcements of volunteer work days throughout the season or contact Common Ground Program Manager Umut Bayramoglu at 785-312-2347 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for a specific day of service that fits your individual or organizational needs.
2023 Common Ground Garden Work Days:
Saturday, March 25 & Sunday, March 26, All Day
In addition to the volunteer work days, Common Ground hosts a variety of events that bring together growers, neighbors, students, artists and academics to build community and celebrate culture.
Common Ground is a proud partner with Ballard Center and Somos Lawrence in hosting two traditional festivities to Mexico and Central America—Day of the Dead, a collective ritual of remembrance tied to the harvest; and Day of Spring, a celebration of the planting season—at Garden Incubator at John Taylor Park.
Day of Spring
April 30, 2023
Garden Incubator at John Taylor Park
Day of the Dead
Nov. 2, 2023
Garden Incubator at John Taylor Park
Through the three years of the project funded by a Natural Resources Conservation Service grant, Common Ground will host educational workshops and demonstration projects on six sustainable agriculture topics—cover crops, season extension, pollinator habitat, water conservation, soil fertility and sustainable weed management.
Pollinator Habitat Workshop June 2022
Monarch Watch Way station #1 from People Place Productions on Vimeo.
Cover Crop Workshop September 2022
Common Ground | Cover Crops from People Place Productions on Vimeo.
Upcoming workshops in 2023 Season:
Sustainable Weed Management - TBD
Season Extension - TBD