Community gardens vary enormously in what they offer, according to local needs and circumstance. This article reports on research and experience from the USA. The context in which these findings are discussed is the implementation of Local Agenda 21 and sustainable development policies. In particular, emphasis is given to exploring the social dimension of sustainable development policies by linking issues of health, education, community development and food security with the use of green space in towns and cities. The article concludes that the use of urban open spaces for parks and gardens is closely associated with environmental justice and equity.