Build a Garden – Get a Garden

Bringing Fresh Produce to Food Deserts

Our first major project for Piedmont Center for Sustainability will be Build a Garden – Get a Garden. Through this program, we will help build gardens for people who live in food deserts. Candidates for gardens will live in urban or rural areas where there are few grocers and very little access to fresh produce. A group of volunteers will spend a day setting up the garden and filling it with tomatoes, peppers, squashes, beans and other fruits and vegetables. Our garden coordinators will visit recipients on a regular basis to ensure the garden is cared for and producing food. Prior to receiving a garden, the recipients will volunteer to set up gardens for others. People with physical differences that make outdoor gardening difficult can send volunteers on their own behalf.

What Kind of Gardens Will You Build?

The best way we have found to establish these gardens is through the Global Bucket System (, which is self-irrigating, low-maintenance, reusable and cannot be over-watered. We are sourcing these food-grade 5 gallon buckets from local restaurants. Many restaurants purchase things like spices and sauces in these 5 gallon buckets, but they have no way to dispose of these buckets once they have been used. This is a fantastic way to keep plastics out of landfills and provide fresh, naturally grown produce for people in need.

What Do You Need?

The materials for each garden will cost between $150 and $200 each. This will bring fresh produce to families in food deserts all spring and summer for as long as they maintain the gardens. Our estimate includes the cost of plants, soil and pvc piping. Some of these bucket gardens will be offered to people who do not have financial or physical need. The proceeds from those gardens will subsidize the cost of the gardens established for people in need.

If you’d like to donate something tangible, rather than just money, we need:

  • food grade 5-gallon buckets (locally sourced, not purchased, please!)
  • 3-inch PVC piping
  • soil to put in the buckets
  • small trellises, posts, and chicken wire for vine plants to grow on
  • organic seeds


Not only do we need the folks receiving the gardens to help out, but we also need community members to come out and take part in the fun. Setting up the garden takes less than a half-day, volunteers will be treated to some home-grown snacks, PCS swag, as well as the satisfaction of knowing that they have helped folks in need and increased locally produced food in the Piedmont.