Dearborn County

extension news notice

Purdue Extension: Expert Resources for COVID-19

GARDENING: A Guide for Community Gardens During the COVID-19 Pandemic

May 12, 2020
Raised Bed Garden



Community gardens offer many benefits — gardening knowledge, social bonding and, most importantly, the increased production and consumption of nutritious, fresh and locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, people may be unsure if it is safe to visit a community garden or even if the garden remains open. Garden access may be contingent on its role in carrying out essential functions as designated by Indiana’s shelter-in-place order. (These regulations also are subject to change amid fluid developments.)

It is essential that garden leadership teams clearly and quickly inform all audiences of any policy changes.

This guide offers ideas and guidance on:

Following these recommendations, along with the use of common sense and caution, can increase the likelihood that community gardens will remain accessible.

In such a public setting, the Centers for Disease Control now recommend wearing cloth face coverings. For a guide on how to create your own cloth face coverings, visit the CDC website.


Garden Types

Knowing a community garden’s type is key to understanding its potential role in essential functions.

To make decisions on garden availability and access, Purdue Extension advises that community garden leadership consult with local government leaders to determine if their space is considered essential.


Best Practices for Community Garden Management During the COVID-19 Pandemic

If a community garden is considered an essential space, garden management should immediately implement the following practices for any garden visitors, volunteers or maintenance groups:

The Office of Indiana State Chemist website offers a searchable list of EPA-registered disinfectant products for COVID-19. Consult this site to determine if disinfectants are safe and recommended for use in this environment.

Garden leadership should communicate all new or amended policies through:


Best Practices for Garden Visitors

If a community garden remains open to visitors beyond volunteers/maintenance crews, visitors should take additional precautions to allow safe enjoyment and minimize the potential spread of COVID-19.



Terri Theisen, Urban Agriculture & Horticulture Educator, Purdue Extension – Allen County

Jackie Hoopfer, Purdue Extension Advanced Master Gardener and Display Garden Coordinator in Allen County

Veronica Jaloma, Community Wellness Coordinator, Purdue Extension – Lake County

Rebecca Koetz, Urban Agriculture & Horticulture Educator, Purdue Extension – Lake County

Rosie Lerner, Purdue Extension Consumer Horticulturist

Karen Mitchell, Agriculture & Natural Resources Educator, Purdue Extension – Tippecanoe County

Nathan Shoaf, Purdue Extension Urban Agriculture State Coordinator

Andrew Smith, Urban Agriculture & Horticulture Educator, Purdue Extension – Vanderburgh County

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