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Benefits of a Community Garden

Community gardens may seem like a new thing but in actuality they have been around for quite some time and there may be more in your area then you think. Their popularity does seem to be on the rise again. Statistics are hard to find, but a report by the National Gardening Association studying a 5 year period from 2008 to 2013 found that 35% of households are growing their own food and the number of households participating in community gardens grew by 2 million. Leading the way in the grow your own food resurgence are millennials, particularly in our nation’s urban areas.

“But why,” you might ask, “would I want to garden in a place that is not in my own backyard?”

The reasons are numerous. Perhaps you are limited on outdoor space. Or maybe your yard is too shady for growing vegetables, or you want to grow more than what your property can handle. Or perhaps your front yard is the sunniest spot, but your Home Owner’s Association doesn’t allow front yard edible gardens. Or maybe you just love the camaraderie that comes with hanging out with other gardeners you know, sharing tips and advice or swapping seeds

If any of these reasons sounds familiar to you, and you’re intrigued about joining a community garden, here are some great tips for getting involved and getting the most out of your participation.

Working in a community garden

The Benefits of a Community Garden:

Now that you know what community gardens are, how they work, and how you can benefit from joining a community garden we will help you find one near you.

1. New Experiences. You might think you’re joining a community garden so you can grow more tomatoes, but you might be surprised to learn that you could make lifelong friends, develop a taste for eggplant, and learn how to garden without chemicals. The “community” aspect of this type of gardening, and everything it entails, is a huge part of the draw.

2. Garden Knowledge. Growing your own plants is wonderfully rewarding but it does take knowledge. When and how much to water, planting for full sun or shade, soil structure and health, nutrients, pest control, and beneficial insects are just a few of the areas you will need information about. In a community garden you will be surrounded by people with varying levels of garden knowledge who will never get tired of you talking abot gardening.

3. Beautification. Vacant land that is not kept up can not only be an eyesore but can create hazardous conditions for residents, community gardens bring vacant land to life. Creating a safe and beautiful place to gather for humans and beneficial plants, insects, and animals.

3. Health and Wellness. Community gardens increase access to fresh better quality foods, help reduce food expenses, and improve food security for those who most need it. Studies show that those who grow their own food increase their fruit and vegetable intake and improve dietary habits. And finally, gardening can increase physical activity while also improving mental health and relaxation.

Vegetable community garden

Community Garden Costs & Conduct:

1. Reserve enough time to garden. After all, this kind of gardening is different than going into your backyard in your pajamas to tend to your roses. Factor in driving time as well, but be sure to look for a community garden that is close enough to your home to be fairly convenient.

2. Inquire about cost and volunteer hours. Typically there is a an annual fee per plot that includes space and water. Some community gardens require participants to perform a certain number of volunteer hours per month or per season. These are gardens that, for the most part, are non-profits and depend upon volunteers to keep them going.

3. Community Garden Amenities. Community gardens are as unique as the communites they live in, some have raised beds while others do not. Some have bathrooms, storage sheds, covered sitting and hang out areas, waste removal, fruit and vegetable stands, and organized events and education.

4. Community Garden Rules. When you join a community garden you must rememer that what you do may impact another gardener so know the do’s and don’ts before you join.

  • Is it an organic community garden?
  • What hours and days can you access your plot?
  • Are there any growing restrictions?
  • What is the shared equipement and watering protocol?
  • Is there composting on site?
  • Can you bring in garden decorations?

4. Get on the waiting list. Many community gardens have waiting lists for at least a year to reserve a single garden plot, so be sure to inquire ahead of time how long the wait may be. Sometimes it’s sufficient to get on the list towards the end of the growing season, but don’t make that assumption only to be disappointed with no availability.

Urban community garden

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How To Find A Community Garden Near You:

Now that you know what community gardens are, how they work, and how you can benefit from joining a community garden we will help you find one near you.

1. Google Community Gardens. Google is always a great place to start your search for things near you. Google will show you community garden locations on Google Maps, it will list community garden questions you may not have thought of, articles, blog posts, and current updates.

2. Facebook Groups. Many community gardens have a Facebook group page for their community members. The best way to search Facebook is to search Community Garden plus a town or community name.

3. Local Garden Resources. Local garden centers, nurseries, botanical gardens, extension offices, gardening groups and even libraries, city planning offices, and chambers of commerce can help you find local community gardens that are currently active or even in the planning stages.


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