Sonoma County supervisors on Tuesday gave final approval to a program aimed at opening up pieces of county parkland for community gardens.
The initiative is seen as a key way to provide easier access to high-quality food, especially for low-income populations.
Seven regional and community parks managed by the county have been deemed suitable for growing vegetables and fruits under the program.
They include Maxwell Farms, Ernie Smith and Larson parks -- all outside of Sonoma -- Maddux Ranch and Tom Schopflin Fields outside Santa Rosa, Tolay Lake outside Petaluma and Ragle Ranch outside Sebastopol.
Other vacant county lands were also identified but were not included in the program because they lack water and electricity.
Community groups will have a chance to apply for the garden plots in a free process set to launch next month through the county parks department. Any group with a successful proposal will be responsible for development costs for their garden.
A related effort to bolster agriculture by opening up a wider swath of open space to small farmers and ranchers is set to launch after approval next year.