Horticulture Programs and Resources

We live in a great green city, thanks to the tireless work of City employees and citizens who toil in the soil year-round! The city offers the residents that grow our greenery an array of horticultural programs and services.

Assistance with community gardening:  

The City’s Environmental Education Specialist is your point person for questions about your community garden. For garden help and materials, contact Stephanie Benway at Stephanie.Benway@cityofrochester.gov.      

To apply for a community garden permit, visit https://www.cityofrochester.gov/gardenpermits.aspx.
Earth explor 16
 Assistance with home gardening:

Cornell Cooperative Extension Gardening Helpline

When plant, insect and wildlife problems happen in the garden, who can home gardeners call? A team of trained Master Gardeners are available to help identify the cause of your problem, or give an answer to your question using Cornell’s experience and research knowledge.

You can reach the helpline by phone - 585-753-2555, or email monroemg@cornell.edu

Hours: April-October: M-F 9AM-Noon, November- March: M, W, F 9AM-Noon

Get involved!

Urban Agriculture Working Group (UAWG)

The UAWG’s mission is to strengthen Rochester NY’s urban agriculture movement, develop community leaders, and collaboratively identify and address policy, resource and educational barriers to urban agriculture and community gardening of all kinds. They do this by making existing resources easier to find and navigate, hosting programs and conferences to connect gardeners with one another, offering opportunities for community leaders to develop their skills, and by partnering with the City of Rochester to address policy and resource barriers to urban growing.

 For more information,email startdigging@rocurbangardens.org

Earth explor 17

Flower City Garden Workshops

Our Flower City garden workshops are designed specifically for and tailored to our local gardeners and regional climate.  Offering a wide range of workshops fitting for experienced and beginner gardeners alike, we want to make gardening more accessible to you! All workshops are open to the public and free of charge. Taught by some of our most knowledgeable local gardeners, all workshops are currently being held virtually, followed by a live Q & A.

Spring Gardening Workshop

Our spring gardening workshop cover topics such as Soil Health, Seed Starting, Companion Planting and more! Whether you will be planting your first seeds or improving upon what you already know, this workshop will help get you ready to get outside and get growing!

Fall Gardening Workshop:

This event will cover everything a gardener needs to know to prepare their garden for winter, including ways to extend the season, fall bulb planting, and how to preserve your garden harvests! 
Earth explor 18

Flower City Plant Giveaways

This twice-annual program provides plants and other supplies to assist residents in their part in a city-wide planting in parks and neighborhoods. Available only for those who plant in public, shared spaces, we giveaway annual flowers and vegetables in the spring and flowering bulbs in the fall.

To participate contact Stephanie Benway at Stephanie.Benway@cityofrochester.gov. 

 Roc Kids Grow

Participants in the Roc Kids Grow Program receive supplies to start their own container gardens at home! This program was piloted for the first time in spring 2020 in an effort to increase access to the resources needed for kids and families to get started growing food in small and limiting spaces. In an enormous collaborative effort, one hundred reusable fabric grow bags with soil, seeds and all the tools and accessories necessary to be successful gardeners were delivered or distributed at the Rochester Public Market. The program was designed for RCSD kids and families to learn and grow together, with online planting and Q & A events throughout the growing season to keep families engaged, inspired and growing successfully.  
Earth explor 19

 Roc Kids Grow Partners

Connected Communities

Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H, Monroe County

The Garden Factory

441 Ministries, Beechwood


Southeast Area Coalition



Earth explor 20

Flower City Garden Contest

Cleaner, Greener, More Beautiful!

Over the years, the efforts of hundreds of dedicated city gardeners and their contributions to making our city greener, cleaner, and more beautiful have been recognized through the Flower City Garden Contest. Any city gardener may nominate his/her own garden or a neighbor’s garden. For more information, click here.


Department of Recreation & Human Services
Stephanie Benway, Environmental Education Specialist