Benefits of Community Gardens

Community Garden Overview

 

Community gardening improves people’s quality of life by providing a catalyst for neighborhood and community development, stimulating social interaction, encouraging self-reliance, beautifying neighborhoods, producing nutritious food, reducing family food budgets, conserving resources and creating opportunities for recreation, exercise, therapy and education.

Community GardenEmpowers Community

• Community gardens increase a sense of community ownership and stewardship.

• Community gardens foster community identity and spirit.

• Community gardens bring people together (age, race, culture, social class).

• Community gardens build community leaders.

• Community gardens offer a focal point for community organizing, and can lead to community-based efforts to deal with other social concerns.

Community Gardens and Crime Prevention

New Orleans Police Department working with community gardeners

Crime Prevention

 

• Community gardens build block clubs (neighborhood associations).

• Community gardens increase eyes on the street.

• Community gardening is recognized by the many police departments as an effective community crime prevention strategy.

Cultural Opportunities

• Community gardens offer unique opportunities for new immigrants (who tend to be concentrated in low-income urban communities) to:

  – Produce traditional crops otherwise unavailable locally,

  – Take advantage of the experience of elders to produce a significant amount of food for   the household,

  – Provide inter-generational exposure to cultural traditions,

  – Offer a cultural exchange with other gardeners,

  – Learn about block clubs, neighborhood groups, and other community information.

• Community gardens offer neighborhoods an access point to non-English speaking communities.

• Community gardens allow people from diverse backgrounds to work side-by-side on common goals without speaking the same language.

Youth

Youth GardenCommunity gardens offer unique opportunities to teach youth about:

• Where food comes from

• Practical math skills

• Basic business principles

• The importance of community and stewardship

• Issues of environmental sustainability

• Job and life skills

• Community gardening is a healthy, inexpensive activity for youth that can bring them closer to nature, and allow them to interact with each other in a socially meaningful and physically productive way.

Community Garden HarvestFood Production

• Many community gardeners, especially those from immigrant communities, take advantage of food production in community gardens to provide a significant source of food and/or income.

• Community gardens allow families and individuals without land of their own the opportunity to produce food.

• Community gardens provide access to nutritionally rich foods that may otherwise be unavailable to low-income families and individuals.

• Urban agriculture is 3-5 times more productive per acre than traditional large-scale farming!

• Community gardens donate thousands of pounds of fresh produce to food pantries and involve people in processes that provide food security and alleviate hunger. 

garden health 2Health

• Studies have shown that community gardeners and their children eat healthier diets than do non-gardening families.

• Eating locally produced food reduces asthma rates, because children are able to consume manageable amounts of local pollen and develop immunities.

• Exposure to green space reduces stress and increases a sense of wellness and belonging.

• Increasing the consumption of fresh local produce is one of the best ways to address childhood lead poisoning.

• The benefits of Horticulture Therapy can be and are used to great advantage in community gardens.

Green Space

• Community gardens add beauty to the community and heighten people’s appreciation for living things.

• Community gardens filter rainwater, helping to keep lakes, rivers, and groundwater clean.

• Community gardens restore oxygen to the air and help to reduce air pollution.

• Community gardens recycle huge volumes of tree trimmings, leaves, grass clippings, and other organic wastes back into the soil.

• Community gardens provide a place to retreat from the noise and commotion of urban environments.

• Community gardens provide much needed green space in lower-income neighborhoods which typically have access to less green space than do other parts of the community.

• Development and maintenance of garden space is less expensive than that of parkland.

• Scientific studies show that crime decreases in neighborhoods as the amount of green space increases.

• Community gardens have been shown to actually