Gardening in the city has its challenges. However, the benefits are worth the work. Many gardeners look to community gardens to develop beautiful and practical plots near home. It’s a good thing too, because community gardens offer several benefits to the surrounding area, such as revitalizing neighborhoods, building social connections, promoting physical activities, and supplying healthy vegetables and fruits.
In the Dark Ages, monks shared gardening information and techniques with townspeople in Europe. The people developed the gardens side by side on the land surrounding the village. The garden served as a hedge of protection against any invading forces. In 1731, England established allotment gardens. Private land owners rented space to farmers who gardened together on common land. Later, the Allotment Acts required that land be set aside for areas where there was a need. Since earlier times, community gardens have grown in popularity worldwide, especially during times of war or economic hardship.
Community gardens enhance neighborhoods, particularly distressed areas with multiple vacant lots. By establishing community gardens, residents build community pride, build up the area, and reduce crime. According to a study by the University of Pennsylvania, there is a link between revitalized vacant lots and lower crime rates. Crime data showed that fewer crimes occurred around vacant lots after residents planted gardens on the properties. Safer neighborhoods bring neighbors together to participate in community activities.
Participating in gardening increases the likelihood of developing significant social relationships in the garden setting. According to one study, gardening enhances social support because participants share common goals and values. Some of these values include sustainability and fitness.
Gardens increase physical activity because of the intense aerobic and muscle-building exercises gardeners do while planting and harvesting. People who garden are more likely to have a lower body mass index than non-gardeners. This is likely due to all the lifting, bending, digging, and planting. Gardening takes a lot of work. The physical results are far from the only benefit. Once the garden comes to fruition, there’s healthy food to eat. Healthy eating reduces obesity and supports healthier bodies.
Community-based gardens increase healthy, affordable food levels. The health impact is astounding. By increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables, ensuring reliable food sources, and improving food security, community gardens strengthen families. During the planting and harvesting process, gardeners learn the basics of farming, including which fruits and vegetables are easiest to grow. Some low-maintenance foods include kale, beets, tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes.
Building a community garden takes a collaborative efforts. Often government agencies, non-profits, and community residents work together to bring a garden to life. The benefits create win-win results for everyone involved. Residents have access to healthy food and crime rates may decrease. In addition, the neighborhood has a green space that enhances the environment.