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Posted by Marcy Tate | Sep 01, 2009

Community Garden Success: Make it Happen in Your Neighborhood

City dwellers can grow fresh food and so can you!

Lets face it - the world is changing and so is the way we get our food. As a result of the challenging economic times we are living in, there has been a rise in community vegetable gardens which provide fresh produce for people of all income levels throughout the United States. If you are unfamiliar with the world of community gardening, it's on a very basic level any area of land collectively gardened by a group of people. Community gardens can be large centralized gardens in a city or a smaller garden on a single block in a neighborhood. Most community gardens which grow fruit and vegetables grow them for the purpose of providing a reliable and sustainable source of fruits and vegetables for their communities. The benefits of community gardens are far reaching and not just limited to providing fresh, healthy, low-cost fruits and vegetables. Community gardens encourage physical activity, social interaction, strengthens community building, and in some cases even decreases neighborhood crime. The benefits for everyone involved are truly endless. Children who participate in community gardening can learn the importance of healthy eating and how to help support their local community and ecosystem as well as important social skills.

Reduce Your Family's Food Budget

Who doesn't want to reduce their family's food budget? Starting your own community garden is inexpensive and is an amazing way to save hundreds of dollars a year. If you aren't up to starting a new community garden in your neighborhood, then find out where the closest community garden is located and join. Almost all who join community gardens describe a sense of accomplishment as a result of tending to the gardens. Reaping the benefits of their work- delicious, fresh, organic, locally grown produce is certainly another perk. It's extremely rewarding and is a huge help for so many individuals and families. You may even consider volunteering at a community garden just for the sake of giving back and helping others.

How to Start Your Own Neighborhood Community Garden

It's actually quiet simple! Recruit some of your neighbors and find the best spot of land in your neighborhood or subdivision. Keep in mind, this area can be at the end of a dead-end street, in the back or front yard of an individual, on the street corner, or any other place where there is plenty of sun. You don't necessarily need a large area of land or soil to make a community garden; community gardens come in all shapes and sizes. Instead, build some small to medium sized flower beds which you can fill with soil and plant the fruits and vegetable plants of your choice (planting herbs works well too). Some great vegetable plants to start with include cucumbers, tomatoes, and green peppers, as they yield a large amount of crop. You'll need to come up with a maintenance schedule which would include watering times, weed picking and more. Once the vegetables are ready to be picked, a plan will need to be created for distribution which could include certain hours of the day where neighborhood members could come for picking.

Fighting an Epidemic, Fighting the Recession

Community gardens can help fight the obesity epidemic in the United States. As childhood and adult obesity (and diabetes) rises, we must find ways to combat this problem. Easy access to fresh vegetables is one place to start. Families can find interesting ways to make delicious food with all the vegetables grown. Ketchup can be easily made from a few handpicked tomatoes and makes for a fun family activity. People who use community gardens note that they have a higher awareness of the importance of public health and see an increase in their fresh food intake.

Community gardening is fun, it's easy, it's helpful- and it works. It works for you, it works for me, and it can work to make your community, and our world, a better, healthier place. The personal and vegetative growth possibilities are endless- help make some change and try to support a local community garden.

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