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Community gardening — the benefits

COMMUNITY GARDENING brings benefits to individuals, neighbourhoods, communities and the cities they are part of.

Individual benefits

Health

Community gardening is an active pursuit yielding fresh food. The benefits include:

  • by growing some of their own food, individuals and families have access to fresh, nutritious food and the mixed meals that support nutritional health
  • because it involves physical activity, community gardening promotes physical fitness and health.

Learning

  • learning to grow plants is mentally stimulating and adds to an individual’s knowledge and expertise
  • because organic gardening is a knowledge-based system of gardening rather than one based on quick fixes, it encourages learning in the community gardens in which it is used
  • community gardens are used by community education, TAFE, schools and universities as learning venues
  • gardens are used for community education such as waste minimisation and the recycling of wastes through composting and mulching.

Social benefits

  • community gardening is a social activity involving shared decision making, problem solving and negotiation, increasing these skills among gardeners
  • as places where people come together with a common purpose, community gardens are places where people get to meet others
  • as social venues, community gardens can be used to build a sense of community and belonging; community workers already use the gardens for these purposes.

Urban improvement

  • community gardens regreen vacant lots and bring vegetational diversity to public open space and other areas, making them a useful tool for urban improvement
  • by diversifying the use of open space and creating the opportunity for passive and active recreation, community gardens improve the urban environment
  • the diversity of plant types found in community gardens provides habitat for urban wildlife, increasing their value for improving the natural environment.

Improving organisational practice

  • local and state government organisations cooperating with community gardeners can improve relations with citizens and, by cooperating with each other, can improve organisational performance
  • community gardens can demonstrate local government policy, such as waste recycling, Agenda 21 and community development
  • cooperation between government and citizens can strengthen civil society.

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