Homeword’s Orchard Gardens property is situated on 4.6 acres near the urban-rural fringe of the west side of Missoula, an area still deeply rooted in agricultural traditions. Residents began moving into the 35 rental homes at Orchard Gardens in 2005. At the same time, Homeword partnered with fellow local nonprofit Garden City Harvest. Leasing land on the property to Garden City Harvest for a Neighborhood Farm and Community Garden, the two organizations have collaborated to help revive the tradition of producing food for the community through agriculture.
Half of Orchard Gardens is dedicated to urban farming and community gardens. The Orchard Gardens Neighborhood Farm is 1.53 acres. It has served over 1,800 people, including 26 community-supported agriculture (CSA) members, and has grown well over 12,500 pounds of food.
Garden City Harvest provides local, sustainably grown produce for the community, focusing on Missoulians whose incomes are below living wages. Their Neighborhood Farm at Orchard Gardens supplies the Missoula Food Bank with produce every year in addition to filling weekly CSA boxes.
The farm features an orchard with native bee boxes, a seed saving garden, medicinal herb and flower gardens, educational tours for kids including produce samples and a farm stand for residents at which electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards are accepted. The farm is also home to the greenhouse that grows starts for many of Garden City Harvest’s farms.
There are also 12 garden plots available for rent to the public at Orchard Gardens, including one accessible raised garden bed. Garden City Harvest stated in their 2021 annual report that each garden plot can produce over 300 pounds of food at around 6 cents per pound. Fees for the plots range from $65-$95 depending on household income. Visit the Garden City Harvest Community Gardens page to find out more and apply for a plot.
Learn more about Orchard Gardens on the Homeword website. You can also read a story about an Orchard Gardens resident in our 2023 Annual Report.