The Groundwork Rhode Island Community Garden is located on Ring Street in Federal Hill. It is composed of two lots in a historic residential neighborhood. Before Groundwork Rhode Island took ownership of these lots, they were an eyesore. For years, the parcels were a mostly-vacant, trash-filled parking lot. Over the past several years, we utilized the latest methods in adaptive reuse of underutilized urban parcels to activate the space and make it one of the most dynamic community gardens in Providence.
A Dynamic Transformation
After the removal of asphalt, beds for growing vegetables were laid in the ground. Nineteen raised beds were constructed on the remaining asphalt with a portion allotted for parking Zip cars. In order to complement the mature Walnut tree in the garden’s center, a number of native and diverse species of trees were planted along the garden’s perimeter.
The Steelyard also constructed a fence with floral patterns and towers in the form of a steel tree and bird bath in the garden. Rather than dispose of asphalt off-premises, the pieces of asphalt that were removed from the parcels were incorporated into the design of the fence.
Recently, Down City Design in conjunction with students from the Met School designed and constructed an outdoor teaching laboratory on the premises. When the “Eco-Lab” is completed, the Community Garden’s role as a hub for teaching young people about the value of green spaces in urban areas will come to fruition.
Further improvements are coming to the garden in the Spring of 2013, with the installation of solar lighting, a large gate marker, bike racks, and other amenities.
For more information about our Community Garden program, visit
Groundwork Rhode Island’s Community Garden program is committed to offering community members access to healthy growing spaces, enhancing opportunities for residents to develop a meaningful, educational, and productive relationship with the environment. In addition to providing healthy spaces to grow food and local plants, we host workshops and offer resources to help growers successfully manage their gardens throughout the seasons. Groundwork encourages gardeners to find their own unique and personal connection to their plots and the plants they steward. We do not specify what members should grow in their plots. We do, however, have guidelines for growers to follow so that all can enjoy the same benefits of healthy, safe, and productive garden.