Each month we focus on a Southern Arizona nonprofit with our Giving Project, helping raise awareness and funds in support of their work.

This November, as families prepare to sit down around the Thanksgiving table we’re shining our spotlight on Community Gardens of Tucson, a local organization that addresses both neighborhood resiliency and food insecurity with 17 community gardens throughout the metro area.

“We truly believe that we’re better together and we can learn from each other generation to generation.” ~Community Gardens of Tucson Board President Gillian Paine-Murrieta

Community Gardens of Tucson is creating a stronger community, according to Gillian Paine- Murrieta.

As board president, she sees firsthand the impact Community Gardens of Tucson is having through its 17 community gardens in the metro areamany of which are located in under-served areas.

She says there’s nothing like growing your own food.

“It tastes better, it’s mentally healthful to us to be in the garden, have green spaces, take time, exercise,” Paine- Murrieta tells me. “There’s so many numerous benefits.”

Armando Sotelo is the site coordinator for the Blue Moon Garden near the Tucson House on Oracle. He tells me he’s observed those benefits first hand.

“They’re happy, and enjoy that there’s a space for them to work in and get their hands dirty,” he says.

Sotelo helps coordinate the numerous garden plots, which measure 3 feet by 20 feet.

“Gives them an outlet to come out and enjoy nature, whether it be walking the garden or getting a plot and managing a plot throughout the seasons.”

There is a monthly fee to rent a plot at one of the community gardens, but as a non-profit, the Community Gardens of Tucson can help reduce or eliminate that fee based on need. That helps fulfill one of the non-profit’s core values: To help reduce food insecurity.

“So that’s bringing different people in to the garden so they learn, educate them, how they can grow food themselves,” says Paine-Murrieta.

Community Gardens of Tucson also has more than 300 elementary and high school students, and their teachers, involved in their Kids in Gardens program. They have plots designated to the students so they can learn how to grow food and take that knowledge home with them.

“They’re going to be our future gardeners,” says Paine-Murrieta. “Also the environment, with environmental sustainability, food resiliency as different things happen in our society.”

If you’d like to help support the efforts of the Community Gardens of Tucson with a small donation, text givingproject to 50155, or use the form below this story.

All of the money raised will go directly to the Community Gardens. Our Giving Project partners, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, will match the first $500 in donations.