April is the month spring really comes to life, so it makes sense that it's National Garden Month. This week on the blog we’re going to share with you the benefits of community gardening and highlight some gardens in Clark, Champaign, and Logan Counties. Continue reading to learn about all the benefits and how to start your own plot!
What is a community garden?
They are shared plots of land that are gardened collectively by a group of people, usually those who may not have room to garden at their own homes or apartments. Community gardens turn spaces in urban areas that would otherwise not be used into productive vegetable or flower plots. They provide locally grown, organic produce for people in the community.
What’s so great about community gardens?
The common barriers to accessing fresh produce are cost and availability. Community gardens can lower the cost and increase access by growing food directly in the community that needs it. According to the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, “Adults with a household member who participated in a community garden consumed fruits and vegetables 1.4 more times per day than those who did not participate, and they were 3.5 times more likely to consume fruits and vegetables at least 5 times daily.”
Community gardens are great for community development. Research has shown that they have a positive impact on residential properties within 100 feet of the garden, especially in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Gardens replace vacant lots with greenery, beautifying neighborhoods. They also help the environment by adding oxygen to the air, and many gardens participate in composting and other forms of recycling.
Community gardens can provide educational opportunities for children as well as adults. While community gardens mainly teach gardening skills, they also provide kids with a basic understanding of where food comes from.
The act of gardening itself reduces stress. Studies have shown that 30 minutes of outdoor gardening can cause a positive mood. Plus, it is a great way to spend time outside in a world where most of our life and work is done indoors. Gardening can be a good way to get active and spend some time away from a screen.
Meeting your neighbors
When you’re gardening in your community, you’ll probably meet people you wouldn’t have otherwise, even if they live close to you. You can bond over healthy food and the desire to better your community. This connection can also help bridge cultural and generation divides.
How you can get involved
Here are some local community gardens where you can start your own plot!
Market Street Community Garden is located at 222 E. Market St. in Urbana. They have 30 plots and use organic methods to grow flowers and vegetables. Members give back by donating extra produce to Caring Kitchen.
If you are interested in having a garden plot, please contact Marsha Hess, (937) 416-9854 by text or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Visioning Garden is located at 1217 Linden Ave in Springfield and is a project of the nonprofit Springfield Promise Neighborhood. They have beds that grow produce for local food pantries and 25 beds for residents. The goal is for the garden to become a community meeting and gathering space.
Contact info: (937) 505-0330 or email email@example.com
The New Carlisle Community garden is located at 600 W Madison St. in New Carlisle. The garden is completely organic. They support the Bethel Churches United Food Pantry and ask gardeners to contribute some of their own produce or to help work in the common plots.
Contact info: (937) 823-6476 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Here at Second Harvest, we’re planning on bringing back our own community garden. Clark County Service Day is on Friday, April 30, and we need volunteers to help us clean box garden beds and plant seeds! You can sign up to volunteer with us here.
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