Mayor Michael Coleman wants to see 500 community gardens in Columbus by 2012, and his tally got one better Monday morning when he helped unveil a new vegetable plot near City Hall.

Mayor Michael Coleman wants to see 500 community gardens in Columbus by 2012, and his tally got one better Monday morning when he helped unveil a new vegetable plot near City Hall.

Coleman joined city officials and representatives from Lowe's, Scotts Miracle-Gro and several other companies that donated materials and manpower to build six raised beds at 120 W. Gay St. The 12 individual plots - one for each city department - contain tomatoes, onions, zucchini, hot peppers, cucumbers and other salad staples.

"This concept can be done anywhere in the city," Coleman said. "We're setting the pace and the example right here in front of City Hall."

Columbus is currently home to more than 200 community gardens. Produce in the City Hall spot will be grown by government workers and donated to local food banks.

"I thought it would make a great statement - but it's even more than that," said Bill Dawson, head of Franklin Park Conservatory's Growing to Green program. "It's a model for other cities, but also for our neighborhoods as well."

Find out more at the city's website, columbus .gov .