Do you live in an apartment, wishing you’d have a piece of land of your own so that you can grow your own vegetables? Not everyone has the benefit of a relative living in the country or at least a nice sunny balcony that could be used for gardening. That is where community gardens come in.
In a community garden, neighbors come together to enjoy and take care of land together. Plus, the benefits of a shared garden expand beyond those people working growing vegitables. Community gardening has a big impact on the environment and the quality of life of the whole neighborhood and even the city.
What is a community garden?
A community garden is essentially a plot of land (public or private), where the locals come together to grow fruits, vegetables and other greenery. But there can be various types of gardens.
There can be a garden for the neighborhood, where one can rent a plot. Residents of the same building can share a garden. There can even be gardens that belong to an institution and serve therapeutical or educational purposes. (Do you need a tips for starting a garden?)
Working on your own garden can have many individual benefits. The increased physical activity and homegrown vegetables and fruits are the most obvious perks. There also are proven therapeutical and psychological benefits to planning and tending to a garden. Finally, the sense of community has mental health benefits and promotes a sense of security in your surroundings.
Community gardens are usually located in places that would otherwise be left empty and over time could be filled with city debris and illegal waste. But gardens replacing those ugly, empty spaces provide more than just an esthetic benefit.
A new plot of greenery serves as a haven for birds and insects. It prevents standing water because gardens naturally collect and redistribute rainwater to plants, improving the local microclimate. Finally, the plants that grow in gardens help to reduce local air pollution.
Community gardens also help control waste by encouraging composting and recycling. For example, plant waste can easily be recycled into fertilizer, then used in the garden. (Here are some tips to starting a compost.) Some glass and paper recyclables can also be reused to improve the garden. For example, do you know how to reuse toilet paper tubes for gardening?
Another benefit to community gardens that often gets overlooked is that they reduce local crime rates. Vacant spaces tend to attract loitering, crime and drug use. Gardens transform these vacant areas and increase the activity in communities, which leads to lower crime and vandalism rates.
There are countless benefits to community gardens for residents, their health and the environment. Because of those benfits, more cities are hopping on the trend and are creating gardens of their own. Who knows, there might already be a community garden in your neighborhood that you don’t even know about.