International Garden of Many Colors

Since the mid 1990s, gardeners in the River Garden Estates neighborhood of north Sacramento have been growing their own food in an underutilized and undevelopable swath of a greenbelt under two sets of power lines. Struggles with the City of Sacramento have galvanized this group of residents who bring their food traditions from the Ukraine, Russia, Laos, the U.S.  and Latin America to this informal space. Working with advanced landscape architecture students, Community Development graduate students, and local community organizers, we have been developing an assets-based approach to preserve the garden and plan for its future success. Gardeners are seeking approval to continue to grow their own food and to steward the land that has provided such benefit to their families and the adjacent community.


Article about the International Garden in the
American Community Garden Association Journal

Initial student observations

Students helped guide a participatory process that led
to a Visioning Document:


…and final student proposals:

The International Garden continues to operate. In 2016 the City of Sacramento evicted approximately 1/3 of the gardeners from the southernmost portion of the site to clear the base of two electrical towers. The City’s Parks and Recreation Department also constructed a new city-operated community garden adjacent to this garden, but has had mixed results in convincing resident gardeners to relocate. Gardeners continue to receive mixed signals regarding their status, and efforts to preserve the existing garden continue …

About ddlp

I am a professor, architect, & community designer. I live in Davis, CA and teach landscape architecture and community development at UC Davis.
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