Since 2010 Backyard Growers has built over 200 raised bed gardens, serving hundreds of Gloucester residents. We serve 100% of public school students from preschool to 6th grade, providing true seed-to-fork experiences for Gloucester kids. 

This is our story!

Our Mission

Backyard Growers cultivates healthy, connected, environmentally sustainable communities and fights for food justice by teaching people to grow their own food. We provide resources and support to establish vegetable gardens at homes, housing communities, organizations, and schools.

our three-year vision

Gloucester is our roots, and now we’re spreading our wings. Click here to explore our three-year strategic plan for 2019 through 2021, which brings our mission to life and maps out our plans for the future both at home in Gloucester and beyond. We hope you’ll join us in this important work!


Backyard Growers began in 2010 as a program of the Cape Ann Farmers’ Market’s strategic approach to connecting residents with healthy food. With support from The Food Project, we provided backyard gardens to families in downtown neighborhoods. Our program quickly grew to include new backyard gardens every year, community gardens, and school gardens, and, in 2013, we separated from the farmers' market to become our own organization. 

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BYG in the news!

Check out this short segment showcasing our programs and starring our founder Lara Lepionka!

Our Impact by the Numbers

Backyard gardens

  • Since 2010, we have built gardens for and trained 163 families in Gloucester. That's over 280 adults and 260 children!

  • We serve 100% low- to moderate-income families

  • 80% of our service sites are located in poverty or food dessert census tracts.


  • Over 300 individuals a year engage with our community gardens and garden programming

  • 87 garden beds, located at 8 sites

  • 64 family garden plots

  • 18 community garden and food workshops Jan-Dec


  • We serve the entire Gloucester School District, with a focus on preK-7th grade

  • 1,700 students served each year through our school garden-to-cafeteria events

  • We recently constructed new gardens for O'Maley and West Parish Schools and the Gloucester Preschool

  • We have built 80 garden beds district-wide

Now we have a vegetable with dinner every night, whether it’s from our garden or not.
— a Backyard Grower remarking on how having a backyard garden has changed her family's eating habits.