Community gardens are plots of land which are gardened by collectives of people; this is a rather common endeavor in places like the United States, New Zealand, Canada and Australia, and they are usually owned by the government but offered to communities for various reasons. One of the reasons for community gardening is the planting of fruits and vegetables, which not only provides the community with fresh produce, but with a sense of worth and accomplishment as well. Moreover, it brings people together and unifies them, gives them something to share and care about. Not only that, but parents have the opportunity to take their kids and teach them about working in a team, sharing with others, all important values in a community, not to mention the actual gardening work, which can be both fun and healthy, as children get to spend time in the garden and not all families have a yard or a garden at home. It also may give them great ideas for garden gifts for mom on Mother’s Day or any other special occasion.
Community gardens can also refer to various greening projects that a community or neighborhood undertakes with the help and support of local authorities; in this case, a project might be about planting flowers and trees in an area that needs it, work for the preservation of a natural area, or the beautification of the community. In certain countries, there are even not-for profit organizations that help support low income families to grow their own fruit and vegetable gardens. Whatever form they come under, these gardens are a great opportunity for us to remember the land and how vital it is for us; they also provide children with their first encounters with farming and make them value and appreciate hard labor and its results.
In Europe for example, it is a very common thing to have community gardens, and there are plots that families have been renting for generations and generations. Furthermore, community gardening has positive effects on the environment, and it might be one of the solutions for global warming, whose negative effects might include a decline in agriculture and the production of food. By gardening within the community, people can ensure at least part of their food needs; not only that, but it reduces that community’s need for fossil fuel because they no longer require the transportation of food.
Finally, community gardens generally improve the health of those involved because they have access to produce which has not been chemically treated or genetically modified, and because they get to exercise and do physical activity while gardening. Besides obesity and sedentariness, the 21st century has another plague, and that is urban alienation and solitude; we are all so entrenched in our ways of living that we barely get the time to communicate and become friends with our neighbors. Furthermore, if you rent the plot as a family, you can choose to plant whatever you want, not necessarily vegetables, but also beautiful flowers, which can make wonderful garden gifts for mom. What mother wouldn’t love to receive as a gift a flower that was actually grown by her kids?
There are also reports that communities who practice this type of gardening experience less crime and violence, because people know each other and are much friendlier. It might just be that community gardening is a practice for the future, and people will learn through it how to work together again for the better good.