Community gardens improve health, enrichment

Garden/Allotment

Garden/Allotment (Photo credit: tricky (rick harrison))

I’ve been pulling from The Dirt, the blog for the American Society of Landscape Architects, a lot lately, but there’s been a lot of great stuff coming off of their blog lately, including this conversation about the increase of urban agriculture, usually in the form of community gardens:

At the Greater & Greener: Reimagining Parks for 21st Century Cities conference in New York City, Laura Lawson, ASLA, Professor and Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture at Rutgers University, described how urban agriculture has experienced explosive growth in recent years. According to a survey produced by the American Community Gardening Associationand Rutgers University, community gardens are now found in all 50 states. Some 445 organizations responded to the survey, listing a total of 9,030 gardens. Of these organizations, 90 percent have seen increased demand over the past five years. Also, some 39 percent of the gardens listed were built just in the past five years. These organizations have a variety of goals, including food production and access, social engagement, nutrition, education, and neighborhood revitalization.

Sarita Daftary then discussed her work as Project Director of East New York Farms. East New York is the easternmost neighborhood of Brooklyn. A community of 180,000 residents, East New York is underserved by fresh food markets. The East New York Farms program (see image above) seeks to engage the community through its 30 backyard gardens and 24 community gardens, employing 33 youth interns, 80 gardeners, and 100+ volunteers.

The program addresses neighborhood food access through its farmers markets, growing and selling a diversity of unusual foods that reflect the diversity of the neighborhood.

Read more at City Bountiful: The Rise of Urban Agriculture

Community gardens put power back in the hands of people to improve their environment AND their nutrition. Feeling like you have control of your self and your situation is extremely important to humans, both at home and in the workplace, so even if it’s not going to solve world hunger, or even hunger in the U.S., it will help out a lot of people live happier, healthier, more enriching lives.

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