Growing tasty produce may be the most obvious reason to join a community garden, but it’s not the only one. As anyone who’s volunteered or rented a small plot at their local garden can attest, building relationships with neighbors is another important benefit to community gardening. Fledgling green thumbs get advice from more experienced growers, people share recipes with each other and needy members of the community can access healthy, fresh food where grocery stores might be scarce.
Many EarthShare members support community gardens for environmental reasons too: they reduce the distance food has to travel, provide habitat for pollinators, and reduce storm water runoff. Check out the work they’re doing to support these important neighborhood assets, then get growing!
Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Gardens program is preventing polluted runoff from reaching our oceans by giving people the tools and know-how they need to turn pavement and lawns into gardens. Want to tap into their expertise? Join your local Surfrider chapter.
Nature Conservancy’s Nature Works Everywhere makes it easy for schools to build school gardens that help kids learn valuable lessons about nature.
The Trust for Public Land had a huge hand in the success of New York City’s community gardens. Back in 1999, they saved 69 gardens from being auctioned off by the city and have been nurturing garden leaders and local ownership in New York City and around the country ever since.
The Arbor Day Foundation helps people plant fruit and nut-bearing trees for community gardens like the one in Macon, Georgia. Community organizers had been hoping to plant fruit trees in the garden for years, and as a result of the planting, people can now partake in the trees’ bounty. Visit the Arbor Day Foundation for gardening opportunities in your area.
American Rivers and the Garden District Neighborhood Association are helping transform an area on Milwaukee’s Southside into a sustainable showcase for urban community gardens across the country. What makes this particular project unique is its giant rainwater harvesting system: collecting 5000 gallons of rainwater for use in the garden and easing pressure on municipal supplies. Learn all about rain barrels for your community garden at American Rivers.
National Wildlife Federation’s Certified Habitat program isn’t just for homeowners – whole towns can get certified too. To get the coveted designation, communities have to provide habitat for wildlife on both private and public property. The residents of Nibley City, UT got their certification by bringing residents together, offering free flower/seed exchange, rainwater harvest workshops, planting projects, tours of certified properties, and more.