Community Gardening Benefits (growing health and food together)

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Gardening is a passion for many, and we understand your commitment to ensuring your home garden looks its best. But sometimes, even experienced growers need help developing new ideas for improvement. Whether you’ve been tending to your plants for hours or just starting, it’s natural to want more, like ways to connect with other gardeners and expand beyond what’s right in front of you. Reaping the rewards of community gardening benefits may be the perfect solution.

A community garden is an excellent place to help people form social relationships, boost mental well-being, give access to fresh produce, and build life-long friendships. Building garden spaces also encourage environmental consciousness, promotes sustainability, and provides a sense of belonging for people.

white and block community garden sign hanging on wooden post outside

Community gardening is the way to go if you want to level up your skills. While there are many alternatives and ideas to creating a self-producing container garden, community gardens provide a sense of, well, community.

From strengthening neighborly relations to learning more about producing your food and enjoying delicious harvests, discover the many benefits of community gardens and the perks of growing fresh fruits and vegetables with friends and neighbors.

Humble Highlights

  • Discover the significance of community gardening in promoting togetherness, sustainability, and self-sufficiency so you can foster and nurture common goals throughout your area.
  •  Discover how community gardening improves health through exercise, supports biodiversity, enhances food security, builds community, and provides educational opportunities to promote well-being and peace of mind for all involved.
  •  Save money by understanding how your budget aligns with different community gardening opportunities so you can maximize your harvests while developing lifelong friendships.

Importance Of Community Gardening: Goals And Objectives

The goals and objectives of community gardening are multifaceted. Community gardening nurtures flourishing and developing gardens and a sense of togetherness and sustainability within a supportive and caring community. Several purposes of community gardening include:

  • Sharing And Learning
  • Sustainable Practices
  • Community Bartering 
  • Building A Strong Community
  • Embracing Self-Sufficiency
benefits of community gardening

Sharing And Learning

A community garden is a place for gardeners to unite and share their passion for cultivating plants. The exchange of gardening experiences, tips, and techniques fosters a collaborative and supportive environment.

Everyone, from beginners to experts, can contribute while learning something new. Whether it’s discussing successful planting methods, troubleshooting common gardening issues, or discovering innovative gardening practices, community garden participants have the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience. 1

Sustainable Practices

Community gardeners are very resourceful. Instead of throwing away parts of vegetables, they find ways to use them in meals or for making vegetable broth. For example, they can use celery tops or leafy features that would have otherwise been thrown away because these pieces still contain helpful nutrition while being environmentally friendly.

community gardening volunteer

Furthermore, community gardeners explore innovative ways to repurpose food leftovers. For instance, by peeling off the outer skin of avocado seeds and incorporating the dehydrated inner seed into healthy shakes or baking dishes, you add a nutritious element to your diet while reducing food waste.

By using natural sources and cutting down on waste, we are helping the environment. These practices are a great example of how little actions can significantly impact a cleaner planet for everyone.

Community Bartering

Community gardens can help build relationships and save food. It connects gardeners in the local area while providing access to fresh produce for individuals who may not otherwise have it. Through these connections, neighbors can trade surplus vegetables that would otherwise be discarded.

This exchange creates an advantageous relationship of mutual benefit where gardeners gain access to unique crops they may not grow, and everyone within the community benefits from having greater variety and more fresh vegetables available on their shelves or at local markets. This exchange increases access to healthy foods and encourages people to share rather than compete over garden resources.

why community gardens are important

Building A Strong Community

Engaging in community gardening allows people to connect with neighbors, share resources, and strengthen their bond as they work together to create one community garden that’s beautiful and productive. It makes a close-knit community where trust and support are cultivated. 2

Embracing Local Self-Sufficiency

Community garden participation helps people build a more sustainable and independent lifestyle as their reliance on external sources for food decreases. This participation leads to greater individual resilience by decreasing the vulnerability of relying on supply chains that can have environmental impacts or become inaccessible due to economic downturns or extreme weather events. Together, these benefits improve overall self-sufficiency at both an individual and community level.

Benefits Of Community Gardening

community garden size

Improved Health

Community gardening offers more than just a nutritious diet, as those working in the garden benefit from exercise and the added therapeutic advantages of enjoying nature while encouraging social interaction. Gardening is also a fun way to boost physical health because it involves frequent moderate activity such as bending, lifting, and digging, which helps build muscle strength, endurance, and deep breathing.

Also, eating homemade food from fresh ingredients harvested from the garden is high in essential vitamins like A and C and minerals and provides nourishment for overall health. 3

In addition to its health benefits, community gardening also creates vibrant green spaces that can reduce depression levels by introducing nature into urban areas with limited greenery, increasing feelings of joy and contentment among those living nearby.

Check out the video below if you want unique and innovative ideas to start a community garden. Remember, it’s up to each of us to become more educated, more sustainable, and more connected with friends and neighbors while helping the surrounding environment.

Environmental Benefits

Community gardens that grow locally sourced produce are beneficial both to the environment and to consumers alike. Community gardens help minimize the “food miles” footprint, which refers to the environmental impact of transporting food over long distances, particularly in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, community gardens can help reduce the pollution created by transporting fresh foods.

Additionally, growing your grub organically ensures that harmful pesticides do not enter local ecosystems or food supply chains. Not only does this provide health benefits for those consuming these products, but it also helps ensure long-term environmental security and sustainability.

are community gardens free

Supporting Biodiversity

Community gardens can also be an essential pollinator habitat that promotes local biodiversity. By cultivating plants that provide food and shelter to these pollinators, such as butterflies and bees, community gardens help support the vital ecosystem services these creatures provide. 4

Not only do they often produce community food, but they also provide teaching opportunities for integrating pollinator-friendly practices into urban agriculture initiatives. Planting native species is one of the most effective ways to ensure that our pollinator friends have adequate access to nectar sources throughout the year.

Enhancing Food Security

Community gardens are also valuable resources for food-insecure families by providing access to fresh, nutritious produce. Volunteers grow and donate the produce locally, which helps improve access to healthful foods in up-and-coming neighborhoods or other areas with low grocery store availability.

Additionally, community garden initiatives add economic stability by helping create jobs and support local farmers who help supply materials needed for these community projects, ultimately strengthening the regional food system security.

community garden goals and objectives

Educational Opportunities

Working as part of a community gardening group offers learning opportunities about gardening techniques that can help teach skills related to sustainable agriculture or even lifestyle practices like composting or saving seeds, habits many would only acquire with such initiatives, providing them with hands-on experience. 5

Community Building And Social Impact

Community gardens are places where people can unite, build relationships, exchange ideas, and learn new skills. They provide a unique opportunity to create social connections with others from various backgrounds while creating beautiful spaces for local wildlife and plants to thrive within a community.

Gardens can also promote social health and community cohesion and help bridge generational gaps by providing an intergenerational space for all ages to interact freely in meaningful ways.

why are community gardens important

Increasing Access To Gardening

Community gardens are also great for transforming unused or empty spaces into meaningful and productive garden plots. It provides access to gardening space for individuals who might not have the opportunity to garden in condos or apartments in urban neighborhoods, making gardening more accessible and beneficial to everyone.

Humble Tip:
Regularly organizing meetings or events to discuss garden plans, share gardening tips, and allocate responsibilities can help create a supportive and cohesive community. This ensures everyone is on the same page, maximizes productivity, and enhances the overall experience of community gardening.

Community Gardening Volunteers

Community garden volunteers play a crucial role in supporting and maintaining the garden. They contribute to various advantages and ensure the smooth functioning of the garden and its positive impact on the community. People of all ages and professions can volunteer and contribute their unique expertise to the garden’s maintenance and development.

what is community gardening

For some volunteers, working in the garden benefits them by being a source of physical and mental health, providing a way to stay active and escape the confines of indoor life. Volunteers also help create a safe and educational environment for young members. They provide guidance and supervision, ensuring each member stays on task and learns about organic gardening practices. 6

Community Garden Size And Operation

As a general guideline, community gardens can range in size from a few raised garden beds or small plots on an urban lot to larger spaces encompassing several acres in suburban or rural areas. However, the ideal size of a community garden depends on various factors, including the types of community gardens, the needs and preferences of the community it serves, available space, resources, and the specific goals of the garden. 

how do community gardens work

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but here are some considerations to keep in mind when determining the size of a community garden in your neighborhood, including:

Community Need

The size of the community garden should meet the needs of its members. Consider the number of participants, their gardening interests, and how much fresh produce they want to grow. 7

Available Space

The available land will play a significant role in determining the size of the garden. It is essential to assess the open area and ensure that it can accommodate the desired size of the garden.

Resources And Management

The garden’s size should be manageable by the community in terms of resources, such as water supply, tools, compost, and maintenance efforts. A more extensive garden may require significant resources and dedicated volunteers to maintain it effectively.

the benefits of vegetable gardening for the home and the community

Accessibility

The garden should be accessible to all community members, including those with physical limitations. Consider pathways, raised beds, and other accessibility features when determining the garden’s size.

Diversity Of Crops

If the goal is to have a diverse range of crops and plants, a more extensive garden might be necessary to accommodate various species and growing conditions. 8

Education And Social Space

Community gardens are often places for education, workshops, and social interactions, much like school activities. Adequate space should be available for these activities to take place comfortably.

what are community gardens

Zoning And Regulations

Consider local zoning laws and regulations that might impact the size of the community garden, especially in urban gardening. An excellent place to start is by contacting your local city hall or planning board, if your area has one, to start asking questions and obtaining a copy of the ordinance.

Are Community Gardens Free

Whether community gardens are free or not can vary depending on the specific garden and its management. Community gardens are typically free or operate on a low-cost basis, but others may require a fee or membership dues to participate. 

local community gardens

Free Community Garden

Sometimes, people can skip paying to access and the community garden is open to all. This is thanks to help from local governments, non-profits, and private donors that support community development projects and provide funding and resources for everyone who wants to garden in their area. Anything needed, like land, water, or supplies, is all taken care of so the participants aren’t financially stressed. 9

Membership Fee

Some community gardens may require a small membership fee or annual dues from gardeners to help cover expenses like water, tools, soil amendments, and maintenance. These fees are usually kept affordable to ensure accessibility to a diverse range of participants.

Plot Rental

Community gardens give an affordable alternative to traditional gardening for those with limited space. Renting a plot comes with a fee, which can vary depending on the location and size of the plot. This fee typically covers the use of the property, water access, and sometimes basic supplies such as seeds or soil amendments.

The rental period generally spans from early spring until late autumn, so gardeners have plenty of time to nurture their crops during the peak growing season.

types of community gardens

Work Exchange

The work-exchange program offered by some community gardens effectively provides gardeners access to plots and resources.

Through the program, volunteers commit a certain number of hours working in a garden, helping with planting, weeding, harvesting, and composting tasks. In exchange for their volunteer time, they can use a plot in the garden or be granted access to materials that would only be available by paying a fee or membership dues.

This type of arrangement benefits those who plan on gardening at home and provides an opportunity for individuals looking to gain experience in hands-on gardening while increasing their knowledge about sustainable living practices.

Humble Tip:
If you’re interested in discovering a community garden in the United States, the most effective and convenient way is by visiting the American Community Gardening Association (ACGA) website. As a prominent organization that fosters community gardening in the United States and Canada, the ACGA’s website is a comprehensive resource for locating these nurturing spaces near you.

successful community gardens

Conclusion

Community gardens have a lot of positive benefits. Starting a community garden creates a sense of tranquility and peace. Urban gardening gives city dwellers a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Turning vacant lots into community garden projects can help create conversations between members, strengthen community ties, cultivate community development, give people activities, and help relieve stress. Plus, people can boost their mental and physical health through community gardens.

Additionally, community gardens provide fresh food options and reduce food miles footprint, which can benefit our environment. However, it’s essential to inquire about a community garden’s specific costs and requirements before getting involved. Some community gardens are free, while some require membership fees.

Does your neighborhood have a community garden where everyone pitches in and cultivates delicious fresh food? We’d love to know. Drop us a line below in the comments!

SOURCES

  1. National Library Of Medicine, National Center For Biotechnology Information – Community Gardening: Stress, Well-Being, And Resilience Potentials
  2. National Library Of Medicine, National Center For Biotechnology Information – Evidence On The Contribution Of Community Gardens To Promote Physical And Mental Health And Well-Being Of Non-Institutionalized Individuals: A Systematic Review
  3. ScienceDirect – Community Gardening And WellBeing: The Understandings Of Organisers And Their Implications For Gardening For Health
  4. University Of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, College Of Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences – Sustainable Community Gardens Benefit Local Growers, Ecosystems, Communities
  5. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention – Gardening For Health: Using Garden Coordinators And Volunteers To Implement Rural School And Community Gardens
  6. SciVerse ScienceDirect – Community Gardens: Space For Interactions And Adaptations
  7. Gardening Matters – Multiple Benefits Of Community Gardening
  8. Sustainable Food Center – Strengthening Communities Through Community Gardens
  9. National Library Of Medicine, National Center For Biotechnology Information – Community Garden Initiatives Addressing Health And Well-Being Outcomes: A Systematic Review Of Infodemiology Aspects, Outcomes, And Target Populations

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