Oct 05, 2022 • Annie Cao
Imagine a hidden oasis planted in the middle of a busy urban city or a low-income neighborhood. A place to feed your stomach and your soul. Community gardens are an unsung hero with many incredible benefits that help the ecosystem and neighborhoods surrounding it. Here are some of the benefits of community gardens:
Community gardens not only beautify the landscapes in urban neighborhoods, but also offer many sustainable benefits to the environment.
1. Improve air, water, and soil quality.
By absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, plants help with air pollution in busy cities. Community gardens usually don’t use pesticides or fertilizers, so the soil quality is better and the produce grown there will be fresher. Gardens also absorb rainwater during storms, decreasing water runoff and pollution.
2. Reduce food transportation emissions.
Have you ever wondered how your food ends up at grocery stores? Well, it’s thanks to those big trucks on the road, as well as planes and ships exporting and importing different foods. All of these forms of transportation use gas and create harmful emissions to get from point A to point B. But community gardens are local so your food doesn’t have to travel so far to get to your home.
3. Increase biodiversity of plants and animals.
Urban cities and empty, dry land are not suitable for many plants or animals, but a community garden is a safe haven that can create a thriving environment for them to inhabit.
As our world becomes more digitally connected, taking regular breaks from our screens is much needed for our mental and physical health. In crowded areas or low-income neighborhoods, a community garden offers a peaceful escape from the noise of life.
1. Assist with food deserts.
Many low-income neighborhoods have food deserts, which are places where it’s difficult to find fresh fruits and vegetables. Since people may have to travel many miles and produce can be expensive at grocery stores, their diets may be lacking the nutrients that they need. Community gardens can improve access to fresh produce and provide food security to these areas.
2. Bring a sense of community to neighborhoods.
Whether it’s due to the digital age or getting older, it can sometimes be a challenge to meet new people and make connections. Additionally, living in an urban city means that many people don’t have a backyard or even a balcony to have a small garden. A community garden creates a safe space where people of all ages can socialize and connect.
3. Improve mental health and promote relaxation.
A common tip for those who work indoors all day at an office or at home is to get out and take a walk in nature. Living near a community garden provides the perfect opportunity to connect to nature during your breaks, breathe in some fresh air, and reduce stress levels.
4. Improve physical health.
Helping out at community gardens by doing garden work is a great physical activity. Plus, being outside and soaking up the sunshine is the perfect way to get your daily dose of vitamin D.
5. Decrease crime rates and reduce illegal dumping.
Vacant land is linked to higher crime rates and illegal dumping, especially in urban areas. Building community gardens is a good use of empty lots and is positively correlated to reducing crime in those neighborhoods.
Community gardens might have been overlooked in the past, but now they’re a great way to bring people together while also appreciating what nature has to give.