10 Reasons to Start or Join a Community Garden
A community garden is piece of land collectively tended by a group of people. Some gardens, called allotment gardens, give individuals their own small plots and each person plants what they want and keeps their harvest. In other types of community gardens, a large garden is tended by all members of the group and the harvest is shared equally.
These days it’s common to find community gardens outside of rural areas. In fact community gardens are most popular in urban areas where small and large green spaces are taking over public parks, abandoned lots, and even rooftops on high-rise buildings.
10 Reasons to Start or Join a Community Garden:
- Decreased agricultural outputs – Community gardens are becoming more important as climate experts continue to predict dramatic drops in agricultural outputs throughout the world.
- Increased food security - Shared gardens contribute to a community’s food security, making them less reliant on large global food supply chains.
- Better for environment – Community gardens are more environmentally friendly because members no longer have to rely on food that is trucked in, and they can employ alternative organic gardening techniques.
- Access to healthy food - Sharing garden produce means more people in the community have access to fresh produce that they otherwise might not be able to afford.
- Shared skills-Community gardens give everyone the opportunity to learn gardening skills from each other. In the past, young people learned to grow and preserve food from their parents and grandparents. However, a significant amount of knowledge was lost as the “Betty Crocker” generation embraced microwaves and prepared food. Taking part in a community garden helps reintroduce and spread traditional methods of food security.
- Social networking - Gardening can be an enriching social activity. Community gardening gives everyone the opportunity to work together toward a common goal. In rural and urban areas alike, the community garden can go a long way toward strengthening the community
- Reclaim space – Community gardens can occupy otherwise unused spaces such as abandoned lots and neglected community parks. In urban areas this can help the community reclaim spaces that are unsafe.
- Good exercise - Gardening is excellent exercise and tasks can be adapted for all levels of ability, skill, and interest.
- Opportunity to share – Neighborhood gardens give the community an opportunity to share extra produce with the needy in their area. This not only contributes to the food security of the entire community, it may bridge an important gap between socioeconomic groups.
- Save money- Growing your own produce, especially when tools and supplies are shared, is an excellent way to save money.
 Harris, E (2009). “The role of community gardens in creating healthy communities”, Australian Planner, v. 46, no. 2 (June 2009) p. 24-27.