10 Incredible Community Garden Benefits: Environmental Impact & Diversity
Community gardening is a growing trend that is truly beneficial to be a part of. Even if you are only able to contribute a small amount of your time to gardening, it will still provide you and your community with numerous benefits. A sense of connection, lowered stress levels, elevated mood, and fresh produce are just a few benefits, and those alone can improve your life significantly.
If you are considering joining your community garden, read on to learn about the benefits that it can bring to your life.
The 10 Community Garden Benefits
1. Community Gardens have a Positive Impact on the Environment
Community gardens promote sustainable agriculture by reducing transportation costs and packaging. If produced locally, it negates the need for packaging, reducing single-use plastics and transport, which can cut down “food miles.”
It creates habitats and improves ecology by increasing the biodiversity of animals and plants. An increase in biodiversity will improve the soil, air quality, and wildlife. Community gardening can reduce neighborhood waste through composting, which also eliminates the need to buy fertilizer.
2. Diversity of Plants
Community gardens provide a more diverse selection of plants, and everyone has varying skill levels that they can share. Some people may prefer growing herbs while you enjoy growing flowers, and another may focus on vegetables. Plants you wouldn’t usually attempt to grow in your own garden can be abundant in a community garden, and you will gain much more knowledge on how to grow them.
Plant diversity also creates an optimal ecosystem, attracting pollinators that benefit the garden.
3. Community Gardening is Great for People Living in Apartments
Apartment dwellers can quickly grow vegetables and herbs in containers on the balcony, but if you live in a top-floor apartment and have green fingers, a few containers of herbs will not cut it. Community gardens provide a space for gardeners who don’t have yards to get their hands into the soil and expand their knowledge and love for growing food.
It’s a great way to get out of your apartment; even if you love your home, the confinement can eventually get to you, and being able to go out and get into the heart of nature and enjoy the rewards of growing food is invaluable.
4. A Community Garden is a Great Way for Beginners to Learn
Gardeners just starting to get their fingers green can become overwhelmed and despondent when something doesn’t grow or dies. The best way to learn anything new is hands-on and from people who have experience, which is especially true for gardening. There is a lot to learn, from preparing soil, feeding and caring for plants, potential problems, and what to grow for the season. Having someone immediately available to answer questions is a huge gain.
Gardening can also be diverse; what doesn’t work for one gardener may be another gardener’s golden rule. Diversity helps you learn and figure out what works for you. Comparing one method with another is a very helpful way to learn and gain experience.
5. Community Gardening Can be Economical and Help Those Less Fortunate
Growing food is a great way to save money and cut your grocery bill, and growing food in a community can help you save money on the costs involved in starting and maintaining your own garden. Trading, sharing, and selling among gardeners can reduce the costs of planting materials, and community composting can reduce the need for buying bulk amounts of bagged compost.
A community garden is also a great way to assist community members who survive on a low income by providing access to healthy foods and food security.
It can help improve economic opportunities by training individuals to grow their own food and sell it at the market.
Community gardens are a fantastic way to nurture new connections. Human interaction is a biological necessity, as we learned during the strict lockdowns, and a lack of connection can lead to feelings of depression. Being a part of a community garden helps to form and build new friendships.
It gives you a sense of purpose and friends to confide in. Connection with people with different opinions and cultural backgrounds is also a healthy connection. It gives you perspective and opens you up to things you may have been closed off to before.
Regular meetings can break social isolation, and working, sharing, and learning together can help shape your character and that of the communities. To be part of a community is confidence-building, reassuring, and provides a sense of security, especially if you live alone.
7. Great Way to Stay Active
Gardening is a rewarding way to stay active and keep your body moving. Activities like raking and digging are considered moderate exercise, and along with other body movements, working in the garden uses every major muscle group in the body. Physical activity from gardening has been shown to help counteract both age-related weight gain and childhood obesity.
The best part is that you’re benefiting from all the physical activity and getting your exercise without even realizing it, and you are most likely having fun, which is more than you can say for running on the treadmill.
8. Community Gardens Improve Mental Health
Gardening and being a part of a community garden can provide several mental health benefits. Gardening can improve your mood and help you feel relaxed. After a long and stressful day at the office, joining your community to do some gardening can instantly make you feel better. Even a moment alone with your plants can significantly reduce tension.
Community gardening can also improve your self-esteem. The sense of accomplishment that successfully growing food can give you is empowering, even more so when you can share that knowledge. Gardening within a community can do wonders for your feeling of self-worth.
9. Improves Health
When you are a part of a community garden, you have regular access to fresh produce. You are more likely to cook with vegetables and fruit that you grew, and your daily intake of fruit and vegetables will increase.
Working in the garden also exposes you to a healthy amount of sun. Sunlight is used by your skin to produce vitamin D, which is required for hundreds of bodily functions, including bone strengthening and immune system function.
Gardening also gets you active, which can help you maintain your weight and gain strength, while the reduction of stress and the increase in mood is good for strengthening your immune system.
10. Beautifies the Landscape
There are a lot of urban areas that are left unused and overgrown. They can be an eyesore, especially when they are filled with trash or are used for activities that are usually not allowed in public areas. This can also cause these areas to become dangerous.
Using land and lots that are going to ruin by growing food and plants can beautify an area and make it more welcoming.
Whether you live in the city or seaside apartment, community gardening is a great way to connect with nature and your neighbors. Being part of a community garden can improve your health, well-being, and overall quality of life. You don’t need to dedicate a considerable portion of your time; even a few hours a week will enhance your mood, form connections, and provide you with an abundant harvest that you can take home to share with your friends and family. Community gardening is truly a fulfilling and empowering activity to be a part of.
Featured Image Credit: DisobeyArt, Shutterstock