North Coast Opportunities, Inc. (NCO) is the Community Action Agency that serves Lake and Mendocino Counties, as well as parts of Humboldt, Sonoma, Del Norte, and Solano Counties. NCO was established in 1968 as part of President Johnson's War on Poverty, with the mission of assisting low-income and disadvantaged people to become self-reliant. NCO provides a safety net of emergency assistance, employment, and training services for low-income individuals and families. In 2007 the Gardens Project became one of NCO's programs with the goal of organizing a sustainable movement of school and community gardens and empowering our community to be the leaders of it all.

We seek to relieve hunger and inadequate nutrition throughout Mendocino and Lake Counties by:

  • Creating access to community-based food production and local, nutritious food. We work with local government and private landowners to lease underutilized land around low-income neighborhoods for the creation of new community gardens.
  • Educating the community about sustainable food production and healthy eating through garden and nutrition workshops.
  • Empowering the gardeners that volunteer to manage their community space through leadership training and mentoring.

A decade later, we have accomplished with our community gardeners:


  • Developed 45 new gardens and formed a continuously expanding Gardens Network of over 100 gardens in Mendocino and Lake Counties.
  • Produced over 28,470 pounds (over 14 tons!) of fruits and vegetables that feed more than 3,000 people each year in community garden plots alone.
  • Taught over 200 gardeners yearly with free garden production and healthy eating workshops.
  • Trained more than 75 gardeners to become positive leaders to ensure effective management and longevity of their community gardens.

We empower community, one garden at a time!

Find a community garden for your family to join, learn about the latest news and events, or make a donation today to support the food security of our Mendocino and Lake communities!

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