The Many Benefits of Participating in a Community Garden
Gardening is one of those activities that is both rewarding and fun. Even though it can sometimes be tiring during the heat of the summer, gardening is still a relaxing chore. Perhaps one of the most rewarding things about gardening is that you can grow your own food. Just taking a bite out of your own homegrown vegetables or fruit is rewarding in itself. Unfortunately, not everyone has enough space to garden. If you are one of those people who can't have a garden of your own, you may be wondering if you should join a community garden. While community gardens are very popular, not everyone knows the many benefits of participating in a community garden.
A community garden allows you to grow your own food just like you would in your own garden. However, instead of growing food just for yourself, everyone who participates in the community garden helps garden. There are so many benefits of joining a community garden. In this article, I'm going to go over those benefits of why you should join a community garden this year. If you still aren't convinced that community gardening is for you, I'm sure you will be by the end of this article. Let's get started.
What Is a Community Garden?
If you have never participated in a community garden, you may be wondering what it exactly is. Community gardens are places where people come together to grow a variety of vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers. They do this by renting individual or shared plots of land within the community garden. Community gardens are often run by churches, neighborhood associations, non-profit organizations, community agencies, clubs, private landowners, and more.
Benefits of Community Gardens
1. Community Gardens Improve the Look of Neighborhoods
The first benefit of community gardens is that it improves the look of neighborhoods. The fresh greenery growing adds some color to places that would otherwise be depressing. By participating in a community garden, you will be helping beautify your neighborhood.
2. Community Gardens Can Reduce Neighborhood Waste Through Composting
Another benefit of community gardens is that it reduces waste through composting. Compost is an organic matter that has been decomposed in a process called composting. This process recycles various organic materials otherwise regarded as waste products and produces a soil conditioner. So, how can you help create compost for your community garden? To begin, you'll need to make a compost pile. Use a storage bin to store your compost. Drill 8 to 10 holes on the bottom of the bin. Next, begin collecting anything that you can use for making compost. Apple cores, eggshells, paper products, banana peels, and even old lint from the dryer work great.
After you’ve added in your food scraps, stir the mixture. Try to cover all the food scraps with dirt. Once everything is mixed, spray your mixture with lukewarm water. Drill about 8 to 10 holes on the lid of the bin and close it up. Put the bin somewhere cool and shady so the compost doesn’t dry out. After a few months to a year, your compost will be ready to use. Add it to the community garden and watch your plants thrive on these recycled items.
3. You'll Connect With People In Your Community
A community garden allows you to connect with the people in your community. In this day and age, many of us are too busy to stop and have conversations with one another. If you are one of those people who struggle to find time to connect with the people in your community, participating in a community garden may be a good idea.
4. Gardening Has So Many Health Benefits
There are so many benefits of gardening. First, gardening helps reduce depression and improves your mental health. Not only does vitamin D help keep you from becoming depressed, but studies have found that caring for plants has helped many people feel happier. Second, gardening helps improve your immune system. The "friendly" soil bacteria that is found in garden soil has been shown to reduce psoriasis, allergies, and asthma. Third, gardening has been shown to help prevent Alzheimer's. It is unknown exactly why it prevents Alzheimer's, but perhaps it is because gardening requires strength, endurance, dexterity, learning, problem-solving, and sensory awareness.
Another health benefit is that gardening helps keep your heart healthy and reduce the risk of stroke. Because too much sitting raises your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, it is important that you move around. Gardening is a great chore that allows you to get moving while being out in the sunlight. The last benefit of gardening is that it reduces stress. Whether you feel stressed or not, you will most likely feel happier after gardening.
5. You Can Enjoy Gardening Even If You Don't Have Space in Your Yard
One reason why many people don't garden is that they don't have enough space in your yard. While vertical gardening is an option, some people don't have the right space and supplies for gardening. If you are one of those people, you may be interested in joining a community garden. A community garden allows you to enjoy gardening even if you don't have space in your yard to garden.
6. You'll Learn a Lot About Gardening from Other Experienced Gardeners
If you are new to gardening, you may be wondering where to begin. What's nice about participating in a community garden is that experienced gardeners will most likely be there. They can help teach you important tips about how to have a successful garden. As you learn more about gardening, you may be able to help someone else out too.
7. Community Gardens Improve Air Quality
Today, so many things cause the air-quality to become poor. Cars, wood stoves, and gas-powered gardening tools are just a few things that cause the air to become polluted. While you may not be able to reduce the amount of carbon put into the air, you can help improve the air quality. Community gardens improve air quality in your area by releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere.
8. Community Gardens Help Wildlife
Community gardens can create habitats for small wildlife including birds, insects, aphids, and ants. These small creatures are beneficial to the environment in more ways than you can count. Even though it may seem like insects and birds may damage your crop, they can actually sometimes help your crop. If you want to help the environment, growing a community garden is a great idea.
9. Growing Your Own Vegetables Saves You Money
Another benefit of participating in a community garden is that you'll save money. Buying fruits and vegetables at stores can be expensive, especially if you purchase organic fruits and veggies. Growing your own vegetables is much cheaper than buying vegetables at the store. You may even start eating more vegetables since you won't have to worry about the cost of them.
10. Community Gardens Produce a Large Bounty of Veggies
Last but not least, community gardens produce a large bounty of vegetables. If you struggle to eat as many vegetables as you should, helping out at a community garden may be a good idea. In the end, you'll be able to take home your harvest of veggies. Eating vegetables has so many health benefits. Vegetables help prevent heart attacks and strokes, as well as keep your skin healthy and help you maintain healthy blood pressure. In addition to this, vegetables can also help reduce depression.
How to Find a Community Garden Near You
Are you convinced yet that you should participate in a community garden? If so, you may be wondering how to find one near you. To begin, visit the American Community Gardening Association, also known as the ACGA. The ACGA gives a map that helps you find community gardens near you. Another way to find community gardens is to ask around your community. Local schools or community centers may let you know if there are any local community gardens. You can also try searching "community garden near me" on the internet. Some locations should pop up and you can decide which community garden you want to join.
If you can't find a community garden near you, perhaps you would like to start your own. Starting your own community garden is easier than you think. Even though it may seem like starting a community garden isn't worth it, you'll be helping others and the environment by starting one. You can find out how to start a community garden here.
I hope this article has inspired you to participate in a local community garden. Community gardens allow people to come together with one main goal, which is to grow their own food. In this article, I went over the many benefits of joining a community garden. You can find a community garden near you by visiting the American Community Garden Association, a site that helps you get started with community gardening. If you can't find a community garden near you, perhaps you'd be interested in starting your own. Whatever you choose to do, I'm sure that you'll enjoy gardening in a community garden. Happy gardening!