All are welcome to purchase their own plot at the Amend Park Community Garden to use for the growing season. There are no restrictions based on gardening experience; we welcome both seasoned gardeners and those who are brand new to gardening. Click here to register for a garden plot.
Amend Park Community Garden is the first community garden in the Southwest Corridor neighborhood of Billings, Montana to be completely open to the public. It was founded in 2014 through a collaboration between the Billings Parks and Recreation Department and the Billings Metro VISTA Project. It is Billings’ first city-owned community garden. In 2015, the garden received a citation of merit award from the Montana Trails, Recreation and Parks Association for Agency Excellence. The garden’s overall mission is to increase food security by providing a public space to garden in, thereby:
- Reaching low-income citizens.
- Creating a strong sense of community.
- Providing educational opportunities.
- Providing opportunities to foster community leadership.
- Producing an abundance of fruits and vegetables.
This garden is located in the northeast corner of Amend Park, along S. Billings Blvd. Amend Park was chosen as a premier garden location due to its size and location; there is a lot of room for plots and for other gardening structures, including a shed and compost bins. We currently have 44 individual plots, 8 communal plots, and 17 communal fruit trees at the garden.
According to the US Census Bureau, 10.2% of the population in Billings has been identified as experiencing poverty. In the South Side neighborhood, in particular, around 47% of the population is living below the federal poverty line. According to the 2020 Community Health Assessment of Yellowstone County, conducted by the Healthcare Alliance of Billings Clinic, RiverStone Health, and St. Vincent Healthcare, 22.7% of Yellowstone County residents have low food access, meaning they do not live near a supermarket or grocery store. Additionally, 18.1% of community residents are determined to be “food insecure”, having run out of food in the past year and/or been worried about running out of food.
Amend Community Garden hopes to provide households in multiple neighborhoods of Billings with the space and resources necessary to plant, grow, and harvest their own food. This will increase overall food security as residents will have easy access to affordable, healthy food.
Applications for new gardeners are accepted after March 1st each year. The garden opens in April (depending on the weather) with a mandatory orientation for all participants. Below are some additional details about the garden:
- The garden is located on the northeast corner of Amend Park off of S. Billings Blvd.
- It is slightly less than one acre in size, with various plot sizes available:
- 10’ x 10’ ground plots
- 10’ x 20’ ground plots
- 20’ x 20’ ground plots
- 3’ x 6’ raised beds
- Plots range in price from $15 to $40 depending on the size
- Plot fees can be reduced based on income eligibility.
- Water hook-ups are available near each plot.
- All plot renters are responsible for watering their own plot, but we do have a communal watering board at the garden. This means that if you happen to be away for a few days, you can enter your plot number and dates away on the watering board and another gardener will likely help you out. In return, you can do the same for other gardeners.
- All skill levels are welcome.
- In addition to caring for individual plots, gardeners are required to help care for communal plots for a minimum of 16 hours throughout the growing season; this works out to be about 1 hour a week. These hours will be tracked by the Leadership Team.
- Workshops and social events are held throughout the summer to build community and help gardeners in all of their gardening endeavors.
To register after March 1st, click here. If you have not registered for a program with the Parks and Recreation Department before, you will need to setup an account. You can also register at the Parks and Recreation office at 390 N 23rd St., Billings, MT 59101.
Here are the activity numbers that correspond with the different garden plots:
- 8900-A: 20 x 20 plot, $40
- 8900-B: 10 x 20 plot, $30
- 8900-C: 10 x 10 plot, $20
- 8900-D: 3 x 6 raised bed, $15
For more information visit our Facebook page here!
We are constantly working to strengthen the sense of community at Amend Garden through community workdays, workshops, and other events. This is a community garden, so there are requirements for each gardener beyond maintaining their individual plots. These communal requirements include attending a set number of communal work days each season, helping to weed walkways and mulched areas, participating in the composting process, and helping to plant, water, weed, and harvest communal plots.
We also strongly encourage all gardeners to help each other out! If you are an experienced gardener, consider helping a new gardener get situated and give them advice about what to expect. If you have relevant garden resources, share them. If someone seems to be struggling with pests or weeds in their individual plot, offer to help. If someone is away for a few days, sign up to water their plot. These are all great ways to get to know one another as well as to build a strong garden community!
We have a 4-person Leadership Team at Amend Garden made up of people who have plots at the garden. The purpose of having a Leadership Team at Amend Garden is to develop a method for citizen participation in the management of the community garden resources. The Leadership Team is responsible for working with Parks and Recreation to oversee the day-to-day maintenance of the garden, and they have the opportunity to give their input on future decisions at the garden. It is not necessary to have master gardener-level knowledge of gardening to be on the Leadership Team; both returning and new gardeners are welcome to apply. Leadership Team members are generally expected to serve on the Team for 2 years. Most on-boarding of new members occurs toward the end of the growing season in preparation for the next growing season, but if positions are still open at the start of the growing season, we will still accept applications. Positions include communications, outreach, operations, maintenance, and communal plots coordinator. Consider applying!
Even if you don’t have a plot at the garden, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities to seek out. We are always looking for help with weeding, mulching, and caring for communal plots in the garden. Additionally, each year we have a couple of Victory Garden plots, through which food is grown and donated to the community. Volunteers can help plant, water, weed, and harvest these plots. If you are more interested in the maintenance side of things, we are often looking for people willing to help with fence repairs. Additionally, if you have an area of expertise in gardening (i.e. pests, composting, microgreens, container gardens, etc..), you could host a workshop for our gardeners!
Volunteer opportunities are open to both individuals and groups. Please reach out to Jake Milliron if you are interested in volunteering at Amend Garden.