What is a Community Garden and How Can You Start One?

Image source: communitygardens.orgWhat is a Community Garden?

Community gardens are springing up all over the country, especially in urban areas. A community garden (North America) or allotment garden (British English), is a plot of land made available for individual, non-commercial gardening or growing food plants.

Such plots are formed by subdividing a piece of land into land parcels that are assigned to individuals or families. In countries that do not use the term allotment (garden), a community garden can refer to individual small garden plots as well as to a single, large piece of land gardened collectively by a group of people.

The term victory garden is also still sometimes used, especially when a community garden dates back to World War II or I.

Community gardens provide fresh products and plants as well as satisfying labor, neighborhood improvement, sense of community and connection to the environment. They are publicly functioning in terms of ownership, access, and management, as well as typically owned in trust by local governments or not for profit associations.

 

What are the Benefits of a Community Garden?

Community gardens may help alleviate one effect of climate change, which is expected to cause a global decline in agricultural output, making fresh produce increasingly unaffordable. Community gardens encourage an urban community’s food security, allowing citizens to grow their own food or for others to donate what they have grown.

Advocates say locally grown food decreases a community’s reliance on fossil fuels for transport of food from large agricultural areas and reduces a society’s overall use of fossil fuels to drive in agricultural machinery. Community gardens improve users’ health through increased fresh vegetable consumption and increased exercise.

The gardens also combat two forms of alienation that plague modern urban life, by bringing urban gardeners closer in touch with the source of their food, and by breaking down isolation by creating a social community.

Community gardens provide other social benefits, such as the sharing of food production knowledge with the wider community and safer living spaces. One man has taken community gardening to another level.

 

How Can You Start a Community Garden?

In this Youtube video, agriculturalist Will Allen explains how urban gardening can make an impact on communities.

–Suzanne Barker MS RD LD

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