Gardening is an excellent way to enjoy the outdoors, connect with nature, and build connections with others. It is refreshing and soothing to be outside and feel the earth in our hands. With the endless benefits of gardening, more communities and neighborhoods are starting community gardens.
Community gardens build stronger communities, beautify neighborhoods, reduce crime rates, conserve natural resources, and create enjoyable green spaces. Additionally, community gardens lower the impact of food shortage and give locals more accessible access to nutritious, healthy food.
In this blog, we will explore the incredible benefits of establishing a community garden, and our garden experts will also tell you how you can start a community garden in your neighborhood. So, let's begin!
What is a Community Garden?
A community garden is a natural place where people and neighbors come together to grow vegetables, fruits, flowers, or herbs. It can be a single community plot or various separate plots. These shared gardens are cultivated in neighborhoods, schools, hospitals, or nursing homes. Neighborhood associations, churches, non-profit organizations, community agencies, municipalities, or private landowners establish community gardens.
They are prevalent in urban areas with rare opportunities to connect with nature, and grocery stores are typically few and far. City people have limited opportunities to garden and enjoy its surprising benefits. Luckily, community gardens provide them with this opportunity.
With it, an empty lot can be transformed into an abundant green oasis where people gather to connect, enjoy nature, and grow their food. Not only in urban areas, but community gardens are also essential in suburban and rural regions to bring neighbors together.
Benefits of Community Garden
Community gardens offer residents and communities loads of benefits. Let's explore the major benefits of community gardening.
Cleanup the Environment
A community garden can restore land to its former beauty that has been abandoned or used as an unlawful trash dumping site. Plants add oxygen to the air that we breathe, and they help purify air by removing air pollutants.
Also, plants absorb rainwater, which improves the land's water-holding capacity and reduces street runoff. This, in turn, means less pollution will wash into rivers or lakes. Additionally, garden composting can reduce overall neighborhood waste, cleaning the environment.
Provide Fresh, Nutritious Food
Community gardens enable people to lead healthier lifestyles. In urban neighborhoods, it might not be easy to regularly get fresh fruits and vegetables without going far. So, people are less likely to eat a healthy diet. A community garden provides fresh, nutritious, inexpensive produce, leading to healthy eating.
Studies have shown that residents eat more fresh food when there's a community garden in a neighborhood.
Beautify the Neighborhood
Transforming a vacant lot into a community garden can enhance the look of the neighborhood. A community garden can turn the empty space into a haven for beneficial insects and birds. The vibrant colors, greenery, and fragrance of flowers can improve the neighborhood and increase the property's value.
Build Stronger Communities
When residents are encouraged to participate in the community garden and care for it, it builds community cohesion. People work towards a shared goal, which brings them together. Individuals bound at home are brought into a community where they can socialize. So, community gardens help strengthen community ties.
Improves Physical Health
Tending a garden improves physical health. Gardeners engage in physical activity by bending, twisting, reaching, and pulling weeds that help them gain strength, flexibility, and stamina.
In addition, spending time outdoors in the sun enhances exposure to Vitamin D, which supports bones, joints, and the immune system. Enjoying gardening benefits your heart and lungs by lowering the risk of developing conditions like obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Reduces Stress and Increase Wellness
Most people rush from one task to the next without thinking about what they are doing. Gardening is the best way to relieve stress from a busy life and connect with nature. It gives them a chance to think about their tasks and decide which one is truly important. A community garden is a place that promotes a sense of wellness and reduces the level of stress.
Loads of Opportunities for Learning
Learning opportunities abound in community gardens. People from different social and cultural backgrounds interact with each other and share their knowledge. Furthermore, working together may be an excellent way to discuss environmental issues.
Recycling, soil improvement, pollination, measuring space, and germinating are lessons learned through community gardening. It also helps learn team building because everyone works together for a shared goal.
How to Start a Community Garden
If you're interested in community gardening and want to start a community garden in your neighborhood, here are crucial steps to establish a community garden.
Step 1: Find Like-minded Individuals in Your Community
The establishment of a new community garden requires hard work and dedication. Explore local gardening networks online and offline to find like-minded individuals interested in community gardening and who are willing to participate. A minimum of five interested families or a similar group is required to start a garden project.
Step 2: Organize a Gardening Committee
Once the group is formed, establish a gardening committee. It's a way to organize your new group. A gardening committee helps to divide the tasks and make decisions effectively. Also, it ensures that everyone will contribute to the development and maintenance of the garden. Establishing garden rules, discussing funding options, and collecting dues are a few typical activities that the garden committee will participate in.
Step 3: Pick a Suitable Land for a Garden
Now it's time to look for a suitable location for a garden. You will need to consider land that gets at least 6-8 hours of sunlight, easy access to water, and other factors that impact the garden's success. A garden site should also be flat and free of debris or rubble. Most importantly, you must get permission from the landowner, sign a lease agreement, and obtain insurance policies.
Step 4: Find a Good Sponsor
Getting sponsorship for your community garden gives you the most breathing room, even if your committee has resources. So, contact local organizations and businesses to see whether they're willing to help with financial endowments, seeds for planting, and required materials. Sponsors can be retailers, local credit unions, schools, and grocery stores.
Step 5: Plan the Layout of the Garden
Once the paperwork is done and sponsors are secured, it's time to design the garden's layout. All members should participate in the planning, designing, and establishing the garden. Consider crucial factors like soil quality, sunlight exposure, and the growth patterns of plants. Share ideas and suggestions to develop a design that reflects your neighborhood and suits everyone's preferences.
Step 6: Prepare the area for Planting and Start Growing
Clean up the site for planting. Clear the debris, remove the weeds, level the plots, and amend the soil. After cleaning, install an irrigation system. The drip irrigation system is the most recommended and water-efficient to water the plants. Next, start landscaping the site and plan fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
Step 7: Organize an Event to Celebrate Your Accomplishments
The garden idea has turned into a community garden, and now it's time to enjoy it. Host a fun community event or have a grand opening to celebrate your accomplishment. Make sure to give credit to organizations that supported the garden. Invite your friends, neighbors, local elected officials, and others who helped you on this journey. Last but not least, share surplus food with neighbors and local organizations.
The Bottom Line
Community gardening is a great way to become active in your neighborhood and get to know each other. Whether you live in an urban area or elsewhere, community gardening is a wonderful opportunity to connect with nature. It can improve your physical and mental health, beautify your neighborhood, and provide fresh produce. In essence, community gardens build safer and stronger communities.
Discover how you can get involved by visiting a community garden in your area.
Need help with the irrigation system for your community garden? The irrigation experts at DripWorks are happy to help you. Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-522-3747.
Find everything from hose bib to emitters at dripworks.com to create a complete and automated irrigation system for any garden.