5 Ways Community Gardens Give Back

 

Ownership– Many community gardens are located in neighborhoods with a high rent-to-ownership ratio. Home ownership helps to support a neighborhood’s stability, safety and sense of community. When you own a home you have a vested interest in the continued success of your house, your street and your neighborhood. Community gardens give residents who rent something to take ownership of in a way renting cannot. Having something you own such as a community garden plot, something you alone are responsible for and can control the future of, is the building block of developing a strong commitment to community.

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Uniting Neighbors. It may not be easy for some people to walk up to strangers and start chatting, even when we live across the street or even across the hall from each other. The community garden is the great equalizer and a stellar icebreaker. In the garden, we are all digging, learning and growing and there, between the rows of carrots and pole beans we ask about watering, pests and the best day to start tomatoes. Walls come down and friendships are born.

An invaluable green oasis in the heart of the city. As more and more of us move back to the city center, we leave behind lawns, porches and tree-lined streets. Outdoor spaces, where one can touch the green earth is crucial to our mental and physical health.

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Healthy options. There are food deserts in the city- places where it is difficult to access healthy food. But truth be told, even when one has access to all the organic veggies they could ever want, eating healthy is hard. Those bags of chips look awfully good!  The best way to learn new, healthy eating habits is to grow your own food. Tasting that first picked-from-the-vine tomato is the gateway to healthier eating.

Eliminates Blight. You keep your yard clean, pot a few geraniums and sweep the front stoop—you do your part. But across the street a vacant lot collects garbage. Who wants that? Who has the energy to keep their part of the street up when the vacant lot is all oppressing? When we install community gardens and eliminate the blight and neglect, we introduce a positive element to a neighborhood, one that fosters community, support, positive interactions and tasty fresh-from-the-garden food. 

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