It’s Not Just About the Veggies…

If you spend anytime at all reading about gardening or talking with other gardeners, you know that growing your own food is a big deal. Front yards are giving way to raised veggie gardens and porches, stoops and windowsills are now overflowing with herbs. At the Civic Garden Center, we are dedicated to community gardens. But it’s about more that growing tomatoes.

In truth, we would be hard pressed to grow all the fresh vegetables we would consume in a year. Chances are you work, have a family, other commitments and just life to tend to. However, tending a garden large enough to grow your own food for a year is not the reality we are trying to create.
Rather, we are building stronger, safer communities. Imagine you are living in an area of mostly rental properties and within the blocks around your home are vacant lots. These lots become overgrown, magnets for litter, illegal dumping and in some cases unsavory characters. Would you want to go for a walk down this street? Would you shoo your kids out the door to play outside and away from the television and video games? Most likely not. Would you have a garden of your own on one of the lots? Chances are, no.
Now imagine trying to get your kids to eat healthy. Parents everywhere know this is a struggle. But one proven way to get kids excited about eating fresh veggies is planting seeds, tending to the plants and tasting, first-hand, how wonderfully delicious the results are.
So you rent, your block has some blight and you are struggling to get your son to eat green beans. But what if …..
Now you have a community garden. There are people outside, working together, creating a safe, friendly and inviting area to gather, share news and, yes, build community. And now your young son is digging in the dirt, playing outside with other kids (gasp!), learning about science hands-on, and waiting to taste the green beans he grew himself.
Will community gardens solve all of our city’s woes? Of course not. I have yet to hear of something, one thing, that does. But it goes a long way in making a neighborhood safe, happy and more healthy.
That’s part of what we do here at the Civic Garden Center–build stronger, safer, healthier communities, one Community Garden at a time.
Join me as I follow some of our new gardens from inception to harvest and as I check in on a few older, more established gardens. You may find some inspiration to start your own edible plot, maybe start a herb container garden or even launch your own community garden.
Happy gardening!

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