Can Community gardens create economic stability, community resilience and cohesion? Yes. They can.
Community gardens offer amazing benefits to rural communities in so many ways.
- Families have a wonderful place to engage and connect.
- It increases community education on links between sustainability and buying local.
- It addresses the environmental impacts of food supply chains locally.
- Community gardens regreen grey empty spaces and bring vegetational diversity to public open space and other areas, making them an amazing way to beautify the town and create the opportunity for passive and active recreation.
- It encourages capacity building to develop the skills, resources and tools needed to support ‘urban’ agriculture.
- It provides flow on effects in the areas of tourism.
Can Communities Gardens help provide regional improvement into rural areas suffering from high unemployment and low levels of community engagement? Yes they can.
Community gardens indirectly offer unique opportunities to teach community across all ages to provide fairer and more equitable economic outcomes. Some of the educational aspirations include knowledge around where food comes from, job and life skills, basic business principles, the importance of community and stewardship. Education can provide low income families a sense of independence, skill development, food security and economic savings.
Our involvement in community gardens mirrors the research in the public domain – community garden programs provide opportunities for constructive activities, contributions to the community, relationship and interpersonal skill development, informal social control, exploring cognitive and behavioural competence, and improved nutrition. Community gardens promotes youth involvement youth while improving their access to and consumption of healthy foods.
Can community gardens help provide a welcome space for well being, belonging and support? Yes they can.
Roles that community gardens play to support mental health and well being, recreation and leisure functions of the community. This includes active pursuits, such as exercise, children’s play and social activities; yet also encompasses passive uses such as quiet reflection in an attractive setting. As social venues, community gardens can be used to build a sense of community and belonging; community workers already use the gardens for these purposes.
Can community gardens create business opportunities for its community? Yes they can.
The production of fruit and vegetables provide a long term source of revenue to the gardens while opening markets for supply. They also provide knowledge base for building the skills for food growing in the region – flow on effects in the areas of agriculture where families with small acreage blocks can learn from the growing of vegetables and have support to start their own businesses.
Can community gardens help reduce organic waste and landfill? Yes they can.
Community gardens are fantastic in dealing with food waste and teaching community how to reduce organic waste and landfill, and increase links between organic waste recycling and nutrient harvesting for soil health. This focus on reduction in waste directly impacts cost factors in managing waste. The focus on organic waste recycling also includes supporting a reduction of transportation and petrol costs associated with food supply.
Can community gardens improve capacity for organisational practice, leadership and volunteering. Yes, they can.
- Community gardens have been shown to build community leaders and improve organisational practice, an indirect but key performance strength in realising community goals and aspirations to create economic stability, community resilience and cohesion.
- Community gardens offer a focal point for community organising, and can lead to community-based efforts to deal with other social concerns.
- community gardening is a social activity involving volunteering and leadership through shared decision making, problem solving and negotiation, increasing these skills among gardeners
- as places where people come together with a common purpose, community gardens are places where people get to meet others