Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

The Benefits of Creating a Community Garden

In a community garden, plants aren’t the only things that will bloom. Since community gardens foster a thriving community environment, they can bring people together while helping to provide meals for the neighborhood.

This kind of social coming-together can have a great effect on the lives of the people with access to community gardens. Not only can this type of garden help those living in poverty and meal insecurity, but by getting many people to work together, they help grow community in ways that weren’t possible before.

The Value of a Community Garden

A community garden is a garden that is accessible to a neighborhood or and otherwise-specific group of people. The responsibility of the garden is shared amongst the group, as are the plants cultivated from it.

It’s easy to imagine a few ways that a garden could be valuable to a community, from providing the chance to grow food, to getting people to come together with the hard work it takes to actually grow and harvest crops. Additionally, community gardens can boost the value of a neighborhood in a number of ways, both socially and financially.

Financial Value

According to real estate experts, “community gardens have a positive impact on neighboring property values, especially in low-income neighborhoods.” The most disadvantaged neighborhoods can profit the most from these gardens, and the impact of them also increases over time. Having one in the neighborhood can also be a major factor to persuade younger buyer’s to invest in a home in an otherwise lackluster area.

Of course, community gardens can offer financial assistance in more than just increasing the price of homes surrounding it. By growing food and sharing it among community garden users, participants can be alleviated of some of the costs to buy healthy food. Not only can this help families struggling to make ends meet, but providing families with fresh produce can also elevate their quality of food and potentially help to boost their health.

Social Value

The financial benefits of a community garden help to contribute to the even greater social benefits. The commitment and physical labor required to upkeep a community garden helps connect people who might have otherwise never spoken to work together.

Community gardens don’t just grow vegetables, berries, herbs, and other plants, they also grow community with the work needed to keep it going.They can also get people to go outside more, maybe even getting them off the couch for an hour or two to at least get a little sunshine and fresh air.

People with access to a community garden also have the opportunity to live a greener, eco-friendlier life. By growing some of your own food, you cut down on environmentally harmful effects of buying your food from the store, like packaging and plastic bags.

Community Work

In order for a community garden to work, there needs to be an organized system for volunteers to follow. This work is really the biggest thing that will bring people together — besides the food, of course. The first order of business is to find some land on someone’s property who is willing to host the garden.

Once the land is found, the participants of the community garden can all help to build it. This will entail digging out plots for the plants, building garden boxes, and filling them with soil. Although this will consist mostly of labor, any DIY construction should be handled with care and by those with experience to eliminate injuries associated with this type of work.

When building, you can also consider adding in some amenities, like sitting areas with a fireplace for people to chat and get together even when they’re not working on the garden. Adding in extra opportunities to connect with other members can help make the community feel stronger and can help the success of the garden.

One thing to keep in mind while building the garden is sustainable product design. It would be contradictory to build a garden using non-eco-friendly materials. So pay attention to the recyclability and durability of the products you use, try to ensure that they come from an eco-friendly manufacturer, and get biodegradable products when appropriate.

Once the garden is built, you are ready to start planting, watering, and fertilizing your crops. In order to make this work, you should make schedules so that the plants are watered and fed regularly, but not too much. Community gardens are a great value to your community, your health, and your work ethic.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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