In many cities, the term “community garden” describes a cheerful tangle of tomato and zucchini plants growing in a former abandoned lot.

In Brentwood, Calif., the Contra Costa Times reports that residents are pursuing something a bit more extensive: a seven-acre “agricultural park” with greenhouses, hydroponic gardens and space for 400 to 500 local residents to plant their own crops under the guidance of professional gardeners and horticulturists.

The vision comes from the Green Living Coalition, a local environmental group, along with Brentwood officials. They’re planning the garden for a piece of city-owned land next to the East Contra Costa Historical Society & Museum, and they hope it will serve as a model for other community gardens elsewhere in the city.

Brentwood started looking into an agricultural park five years ago and had an architect draft plans, with execution contingent on finding funding. The city Parks and Recreation Commission recently approved tentative plans for the park, and the city council will take up the concept later this month.

City officials are hoping they can get a community movement together to fund the park’s development. They say it could eventually become a destination for school field trips and a point of pride for people in the area. In nearby Oakley, Freedom High School has already received a $5,000 state grant for a garden with native plants that will showcase drought-resistant species and give students an opportunity to try growing food.

There are about 18,000 community gardens in the U.S. and Canada, according to the Ohio-based American Community Garden Association, which offers a searchable directory to find gardens in your area.

Main photo credit: jessicareeder/Flickr