Community gardens are plots of land that are tended by a community of gardeners. In the UK they are knows as allotment gardens where local officials will rent a piece of land for their growing needs.
Community gardens come in all sizes and functionality from the small planters found hanging around town, to the large plantings to help preserve natural habitats. Community gardens may be privately owned as well as publicly. One plot of land can be used as a whole, with everybody working together, or split into smaller plots for individuals to grow and tend their own section. Along with vegetables, flowers are grown and the bounty is shared. Many gardens are grown to assist low-income families with growing their own foods. Some cities have turned vacant lots into community gardens.
Community gardens serve many functions. First and foremost is bringing fresh grown produce to the table that is affordable and healthy. Growing our own foods reduces the carbon footprint produced by the large-scale growers who grow for profit and growing our own foods will ensure the availability of quality, locally grown foods for many generations.
Community gardens aids the participant with exercise, a social outlet, as well as becoming involved in the awareness of eating locally grown vegetables for better health. Food banks and other non-profit organizations also benefit from community gardens receiving any abundance of produce grown for disbursement for low-income families.
Participation in a community garden often requires the participant to pay an annual membership fee to help offset the expense of seeds, weed/pest control, as well as advertisement cost.
Image Caption: Father and daughter picking vegetables at a community garden. Credit: Thinkstock