Gardening is a therapeutic past time. The fresh air and sunshine; the time spent focusing on the well-being of another living thing (that never talks back). It can be exhausting but it is always satisfying. Unfortunately, not everyone has a piece of land or even a balcony where they can have a garden. That's where community gardens come in. Community gardens allow groups of people to come together and grow plants and vegetables on a plot of land that is not being used. A community garden benefits the gardeners as well as the community in a variety of ways. Community gardens have been shown to have psychological benefits, provide food at a low cost, beautify urban areas, bring neighbors together and reduce crime! (Source: Surls, UCCE)
Some community gardens are in vacant lots, others on school or government grounds. Most gardens have at least 15 plots to which gardeners are assigned. There is typically a small fee to cover water and other miscellaneous expenses. Each gardener is responsible for the care of their own plants as they would be in their own yard. Some community gardens also have rest areas where neighbors can take a break and get to know each other, while other gardens include a children’s garden and/or play area.
If you are interested in being a part of a community garden you can visit the American Community Gardening Association's website to search for gardens in your area. If there are none, the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources has a fantastic Community Garden Start-Up Guide that thoroughly outlines how to start one. It requires a bit of work but can be an amazing asset to your community. Whether in your community or in your yard - get out there and grow!
Photo Credit: “The Gardens Community Garden, Haringey” by Department for Communities and Local Government
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