I've mentioned here and there that my spouse and I (mainly my spouse, these last few years) have rented community garden plots here in Binghamton, New York. I've never blogged, though, about, how this community garden actually started. The story may interest those who have thought about starting a community garden in their area.
Later in the week I will get more into the origin story of our community garden. Today, I want to blog about exactly what a community garden is.
The American Community Garden Association defines a community garden as:
"Any piece of land gardened by a group of people."
It's as simple as that!
Of course, nothing is ever "as simple as that" as I will talk about in the coming weeks.
We've participated in two different community garden associations in our 25 plus years living in the Binghamton area.
We started out when we first moved here, and were living in an apartment. When we ended up buying a house, most of the lot was pretty shady, and also wasn't big enough to have the garden plot we wanted. But at least we own our own home. For many community gardeners, a community garden is the difference between being able to garden and grow their own quality food - and having to depend on sometimes substandard (depending on their neighborhoood) produce.
What are other reasons for community gardeners?
The American Community Gardening Association offers these additional reasons, and I quote from their website: A community garden:
- Improves the quality of life for people in the garden
- Provides a catalyst for neighborhood and community development
- Stimulates Social Interaction
- Encourages Self-Reliance
- Beautifies Neighborhoods
- Produces Nutritious Food
- Reduces Family Food Budgets
- Conserves Resources
- Creates opportunity for recreation, exercise, therapy, and education
- Reduces Crime
- Preserves Green Space
- Creates income opportunities and economic development
- Reduces city heat from streets and parking lots
- Provides opportunities for intergenerational and cross-cultural connections