In 1989, George Brookbank, a University of Arizona Cooperative Extension agent, devised a program to teach productive gardening using hands-on experience. A vacant lot located near 1st Ave. and Limberlost was graciously donated by the Hand family and was developed into plots with drip-irrigation systems. These plots were rented by participating families for the cost of water.
In 1995, a new Extension agent decided community gardening was no longer a priority. Rather than abandon the thriving garden, George Brookbank, with the help of some local master gardeners, helped form the Community Gardens of Tucson as an independent, not-for-profit, volunteer organization. Since that time, CGT has expanded garden educational opportunities by developing and sustaining additional CGT gardens throughout Tucson and assisting other organizations (Community Food Bank, Hedrick Acres, and the Mennonite Peace Garden) to develop their own community gardens. Sadly, the original CGT garden was lost in 2006 to commercial development; when it closed this garden held 30 developed plots.
Timeline: CGT part of U of AZ for first 4 years until March 15 when George retired.
August – started First Avenue Garden
December – First Ave, Drachman & Wilson up and running
Opened La Cienega Garden
August – Offered land by Garzellonis (Corbett), Working on Food Bank Garden plans
Sept – Corbett is opened for gardening, CFB has given us 24 plots on site
January – beginnings of Community Food Bank Garden
March 14 – ribbon-cutting ceremony for CFB Garden – 16 plots for families in Las Vistas & Pueblo Gardens
April – Ribbon cutting by Steve Leal at CFB
January – TV filming of Corbett Garden and CFB site on City Cable station
September – 4 wk class open to public
October – Seedling Sale at First Avenue Site–made $400
February – 4 wk class series
Oct 2nd – Octoberfest/plant sale just to gardeners
January – started Presidio Garden
September – started Chaverim Garden
April – won our first Mantis tiller in National Gardening Association Contest