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