Backyard Gardener Network

East Palo Alto is home to a rich and celebrated agricultural history! Community members are maintaining oases of urban farms and backyard gardens across the city. Read this fantastic story of the legacy of urban farming and backyard gardening in East Palo Alto to learn more.

The Backyard Gardener Network is a resource for these backyard gardeners and community gardeners who are growing food in and around East Palo Alto. Through the Backyard Gardener Network, gardeners can access numerous resources to make growing food at home more affordable and accessible, including:

  • A sliding-scale home garden installation
  • Garden plots at the Collective Roots Community Garden on Woodland Avenue, the only community garden in East Palo Alto;
  • Connections to other backyard and urban Gardeners and opportunities to share knowledge and build community;
  • Assistance with becoming a Certified Producer in San Mateo County, and the opportunity to sell your produce at the East Palo Alto Community Farmers’ Market;
  • Use of a full-service indoor greenhouse in East Palo Alto, great for growing starts and maximizing the growing season;
  • Seed and produce swaps with other gardeners in our community;
  • Access to the East Palo Alto Seed Library, a free source of locally viable, organic seeds for year-round gardening;
  • Access to the East Palo Alto Tool Lending Library, a resource that includes all the tools necessary to build and maintain your own home garden, and also features special food preservation equipment for preserving your home harvests;

How to Join:

All that’s needed to join the Backyard Gardener Network is a completed application. The network is free to all members who are residents of East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park!

For a paper version of the application, or if you have any questions about the Backyard Gardener Network, please call (650) 324-2769 or email

Resources for BGN members: 


Read about the Backyard Gardener Network and our awesome backyard gardeners in the news!

EPA Farmers’ Market opens for Seventh Season

It was great to see the East Palo Alto Community Farmers’ Market highlighted in the San Jose Mercury News this week. In the article, Bobby Hamilton, a Backyard Gardener, describes the benefits he derives from selling at the market. Read … Continue reading

The Backyard Gardener Network keeps getting better!

Every year, staff at Collective Roots conduct a survey of all the members in our Backyard Gardener Network to find out how we can improve.  At the end of 2013 we received 75 responses from Backyard Gardeners, full of fantastic … Continue reading

Going to Seed

The online magazine “The Magazine” featured the East Palo Alto Seed Library as an example of a small-scale, community effort to protect seed diversity. An excerpt of the article is below. You can read the full article through a 7-day … Continue reading

Urban Farms and Agriculture in Silicon Valley

Kris Jensen, Collective Roots’ executive director, represented our work in a profile of urban farms and agriculture on metroactive. “The food produced by our industrial agriculture system, while incredibly cheap due in part to government subsidies, has alienated us from … Continue reading

Beyond the Headlines – Hunger in the Bay Area

Check out Collective Roots’ Executive Director Kris Jensen on ABC’s Beyond the Headlines, talking about the work of Collective Roots to address food insecurity, hunger, and healthy food access in East Palo Alto.

Integrating Programs to Make the Most Impact

Collective Roots is featured on the Edible Schoolyard Blog!  Check it out! At Collective Roots, we seek to promote food justice by engaging youth and communities in garden-based learning and nutrition education to positively impact health. Our programs empower community … Continue reading

East Palo Alto youth grow leadership roots

San Francisco Bayview.  March 16, 2013. Youth in the community and older residents may be surprised to learn that EPA was once home to fruit orchards and plant nurseries. One tour through the city and that history becomes evident. There’s … Continue reading

Collective Roots helps seniors grow vegetables and income

In 2008, a nonprofit called Collective Roots started a community farmers market to give East Palo Alto citizens access to healthy food.  Some of the food for this farmers market came from seven gardens in the community’s elementary schools — Collective Roots … Continue reading

Farming in a food desert: East Palo Alto gardens take root

KALW.  January 17, 2012. The Collective Roots headquarters, which doubles as a community gardening space, is easy to find. It’s just a few blocks away from the Bayshore freeway. It’s no bigger than your typical front yard, but with more tomatoes. The … Continue reading

Winter gardening can yield results

East Palo Alto Today. November 27, 2011. What kind of plants can grow in the winter? When do you start planting? How do you protect strawberries from the cold? These were some of the questions that were raised in the … Continue reading