A community garden is more than a place for growing food and flowers. It is a place for people of different ages and backgrounds to gather, learn, and work together to create something beautiful, useful and healthy. This doesn’t discount the importance of the food that comes out of a community garden. Not only is it as fresh as possible, it is also nearly as local as it can get. This reduces the amount of pollution emitted and fossil fuels that are needed to transport food from farms to grocery stores to homes. Compare how far a strawberry had to travel to get to your home from Chile versus a strawberry that you walked down the block to pick fresh from the vine. Now imagine the difference in taste!
Community gardens serve as a way for neighbors to connect with each other and for people to connect with the source of their food. Kids love the idea of eating something they grew, and people of all ages can develop a deeper appreciation for what they eat and where it comes from. There are people who are surprised to find out oranges come from trees! Growing food also teaches people about the importance of nourishing the soil and recycling nutrients and organic matter by composting. Organic matter that ends up in landfills creates methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, and robs us of nutrients that could be put back into the soil. It is small lessons like this that turn gardening into a powerful learning opportunity for people of all ages. A gardener’s learning is never done.
In food deserts, places without access to healthy food, and impoverished neighborhoods, a community garden can help bridge the hunger gap. It is estimated that 45,520 people in Durham County don’t have money for or access to enough food. Nurturing the soil, growing a variety of fruits and vegetables and learning how to use them can give people the power to make healthier food choices and eliminate hunger. Making healthier food choices is a crucial part of tackling the obesity epidemic and working to reduce the incidence of diabetes and other obesity-related diseases in America.
Today more than one third of Americans are obese, and the predictions about obesity in America are alarming. It is estimated that two thirds of Mississippi adults will be obese by 2030. This is unfortunate not only because obesity costs taxpayers an estimated $147 billion per year, but also because obesity and its associated conditions are preventable. Gardens give people the opportunity to get outside and be more active while exposing them to the building blocks of healthy eating.
While the beauty of flowers blooming, vegetables ripening, and happy people working together is certainly reason enough to garden, taking part in eliminating hunger, confronting obesity, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions sweetens the deal. Where do you garden? Are you part of a community garden or urban farm?
You, your friends, and your family can support a community garden or urban farm today! The most effective way is signing up with CompostNow to divert your food scraps and sending your earned soil to these gardens and farms. Check out our Garden Partners to find out where you can do your part, be it with soil or by volunteering ➤ Garden Partners