Downtown Greens began when Laura Shepherd planted a garden on the unused land behind her home at 206 Charles Street (now Downtown Greens offices), inspiring the curiosity of neighborhood children.
With the help of Lisa Biever, Eric Olsen and Mark Jacobson, Laura established Downtown Greens as a nonprofit organization in 1995. Its nonprofit status helped Downtown Greens purchase the land behind 206 Charles Street, which became known as the Lower Garden.
Four years later, an additional parcel of land across the street at Princess Anne and Dixon Streets was purchased creating what is now referred to as the Upper Garden. The entire 2.8 acres was placed under conservation easement in 2015 to conserve it in perpetuity.