Sunday, January 1, 2012

Who gets involved in Community Gardens?

A wide variety of organizations or groups find reasons to become involved in community gardens which reflect their unique goals or vision. If you are involved in any of these groups, you may find inspiration in the motivations identified here:

Homeowner Associations & Neighborhood Block Groups

Increasingly, access to community gardens is considered by individuals when making decisions about housing. Demand by young families for community gardens in walkable, sustainable communities is on the rise. Older persons and those on fixed incomes find involvement in proximate community gardens beneficial in stabilizing their household food budgets.

Religious Organizations

Rising to meet the needs of local food banks, their own members and as a means of outreach to their communities, many congregations are taking the idea of local, sustainably raised food and cultivating the land as a means of fulfilling their ministries.

Primary and Secondary Schools

School gardens provide new ways to learn about nature, environmental science, math, nutrition and business, as well as a place for after school activity, community involvement, and civic pride.

Colleges and Universities

Access is provided to faculty, staff and students to grow their own produce, save money or to embody the campus culture by instilling a connection between the natural environment and participants or building knowledge about sustainability.

Social Service Agencies

Agencies use community gardens and their educational programs to build their agencies’ capacity to provide fresh fruits and vegetables, job training and teach clients healthy nutrition practices all while increasing their food security.

Health Care Facilities

Health care providers incorporate community gardens into education about nutrition and healthy lifestyle for their patients. Programs are often targeted to specific groups or conditions such as pediatrics, diabetes, obesity and cardio-vascular disease. Gardens also provide patients with a therapeutic environment for rehabilitation and stress reduction and can be used in facility meals.

Correctional Institutions

Programs empower both former offenders and at-risk youth through job training and education while transforming the urban environment and increasing the institution’s ability to operate on a smaller food budget.

Corporations and Local Businesses

Workplace gardens provide a low cost, high yield amenity for employers wishing to promote healthy lifestyles, community service and interconnected corporate cultures. Local businesses use participation in and sponsorship of community gardens projects to positively impact communities and build strong community partnerships.