For about 18 years, my spouse has rented two community gardening plots. First, we lived in a rental, and later we bought a house (it was supposed to be temporary,until we could afford something better) with a tiny yard-and are still here 22 years later.
Having this community garden has allowed us the freedom to grow our own food for a minimal rental fee. Good food, all natural (we don't spray but we have been known to use Miracle Grow in addition to bagged manure.) rewards and nourishes us. In return for the fee, the garden is plowed under each spring and each fall, and we can use water. This particular garden allows us to rent the same spots each year. We have taken tons (literally, I mean) of rocks out of there, and have enriched the soil with various organic matter. Each year the soil becomes better and better. Not bad for a plot that used to be part of an Interstate rest stop.
What do we grow? It varies. There are the tried and true veggies: onions (which do fantastic for us): tomatoes (some heirloom, long before heirloom became fashionable), hot peppers, summer squash, Swiss chard, snap peas, green beans, carrots. There are the veggies we used to grow but for one reason or another we have given up on: potatoes (again, including heirlooms), beets, dried beans. There are the veggies we'd like to grow but somehow they don't like us: spinach, cucumbers. And finally, the experiments. We've grown gourds (did well, but how many gourds can 2 people use to decorate with?), sweet potatoes (guess some people can grow these in our climate-not us, cantaloupe (ditto), ornamental corn, even-one year, peanuts.
Who does community gardening attract? Well, everyone. We have gardening neighbors from all over the world. A lot of them, though not all, are middle aged or older. Some grow "rows" for CHOW, our local food pantry. I expect with the economy, there may be fewer unplanted plots, or planted and then abandoned plots, this year.
Spouse does about 95% of the work, as vehicles rush past nearby on the interstate. He's been checking daily to see if the gardens have been plowed yet. That's the one thing we can complain about, that the grounds aren't plowed early enough to really grow some early things-our peas, for example, are always started too late.
Have to admit I am more into flowers, which I do in our front yard. The groundhogs rule our neighborhood though so maybe one of these days I'll try planting some flowers at the community garden, if spouse doesn't grumble too much.
If you don't have a yard, or live in an apartment-this site can help point you to your local community garden: