Oyster Gardening

VIMS MAP staff aid oyster gardeners primarily through a long-standing partnership with the Tidewater Oyster Gardeners Association (TOGA).  MAP staff provide science-based information and annual education to TOGA members and in turn, TOGA provides continued support educating the public on oyster gardening fundamentals and environmental stewardship on behalf of VIMS.  

Oyster Gardening Educational vents
What is Oyster Gardening?

Oyster gardening is the non-commercial aquaculture of oysters.  It’s a popular activity in Virginia whereby waterfront homeowners grow oysters off their dock for local restoration purposes and/or personal consumption. Virginia is unique in permitting oyster gardens as many states do not allow these activities.  Virginia oyster gardeners are also able to legally harvest what they grow, but only in areas approved for shellfish harvest by the Virginia Department of Health

How Oyster Gardening got its start in Virginia

Oyster gardening got started in the 1990’s when VIMS scientists partnered with waterfront homeowners to expand oyster aquaculture research already underway with the private industry.  Oyster gardens provided access to a wider variety of grow-out locations for research and the oyster gardening community continue to partner with VIMS on research projects.  Virginia’s oyster gardeners continue to innovate, experience, and perfect the art of oyster farming.
More information about non-commercial oyster farming can be found through the page content provided or by contacting us.

Oyster Gardening Resources
Annual Educational Events:
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Master Oyster Gardener Course Happy Hour Seminar Series