In an age where many of us are stuck inside and feeling isolated, the concept of a community garden is more appealing than ever – but what exactly are they?
All over the world, the humble community garden is being recognised as an innovative way to grow food and improve health. Arguably at a time when we need it most, community gardens also bring people from all walks of life, backgrounds and ages together as a means to foster a lively and connected neighbourhood. Whilst gardening is of course the primary focus, community gardens are generally neighbourhood hubs for a range of activities, such as learning and education, play groups, arts and creative activities, preparing and sharing food, events, celebrations and social enterprise.
Make no mistake though, this is a remix of an old concept. Gardening on public land dates all the way back to the early 19th century, when the British Government allocated plots of land to the lower classes as a place to grow vegetables and flowers. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and its economic support in 1989, Cubans used community gardens as a way to farm organically and in turn feed millions of people. In many parts of Asia, community gardening still remains a typical way of life in many villages as a way to pool resources together.
The Benefits Of Having A Community Garden
In Australia, the resurgence of the community garden is thought to have begun in the Melbourne outer suburb of Nunawading in 1977. Rozelle’s Callan Park community garden soon followed in 1985 in Sydney, with strong demand now popping up all over neighbourhoods in the Land Down Under. Many councils even have supportive community garden policies, with the practice being embraced as a means to inject some ‘green’ into high density urban areas as well as smaller rural hubs who may not have as much access to groceries and other retail outlets.
In the city, community gardens can help to mitigate some of the problems that plague urban areas. They can be a beneficial addition to many communities by increasing the availability of nutritious foods, strengthening community ties, reducing environmental hazards, reducing food miles and creating a more sustainable system. Green spaces have also shown to lower temperatures in urban heat sinks as well as increasing wellbeing. Social ties are important to the wellbeing of people in a community since they can bring positive health effects and community involvement. Community gardens allow for the creation of social ties and build a greater feeling within a community. These connections are also thought to help reduce crime, empower residents and allow locals to feel safe in their own neighbourhoods.
In relation to the environment, having a community garden in your neighbourhood also helps with promoting sustainable agriculture, reducing food transportation costs and reducing water runoff. Humans, plants and animals can all benefit from urban agriculture, as it creates habitats and improves the ecology of the area.
Needless to say, the benefits of having a community garden present in your neighbourhood are vast. So much so, that just a handful of the more common perks include the following.
- Help improve air and soil quality
- Increase biodiversity of plants and animals
- Reduce the ‘food miles’ that are required to transport nutritious fruit and vegetables
- Can replace impervious structures and improve water infiltration
- Can reduce neighbourhood waste through composting
- Positively impact the urban microclimate
- Improving nutrition and obesity levels faced in low income neighbourhoods
- Increase physical activity through garden maintenance activities
- Improve mental health and promote relaxation
- Creation of social ties and build a greater feeling of community.
- Gardens in urban areas are positively correlated with decreased crime rates
- Training volunteers and selling food at farmers’ markets
- Teach residents useful skills in planning, food production and business
Ultimately, giving your time, energy and resources into a community garden will provide a return on investment that cannot be overstated. If your neighbourhood is yet to be the proud owner of one, consider forming a collective with other locals and approaching your council for some pointers, or even a plot of land. Considering the world we now live in, their answers might just surprise you.
Embracing The Healthy Way To Spray
If you’re looking to develop a community garden, or perhaps are already actively involved in one, then it’s important to pay careful attention to how you tackle weeds and pests. Having the choice of natural and chemical based weed killers at a personal and community level is important as you know exactly what is going into your veggie patch and herb garden.
Bioweed is an organic, non selective weed killer that works fast on contact with the weed, in order to rapidly desiccate and burn even the most stubborn of plants. Due to the properties of Bioweed, it is also allowed on farms as it aligns with the Australian Certified Organic Standard. It can be used anywhere around the house including garden beds, veggie patches, paths and driveways, and is safe to use around children, animals and even native wildlife. Additionally, Bioweed has no withholding period, which means it’s safe for use around dogs and children, immediately after the area has dried. This ensures Bioweed has the maximum time on the weed surface, proving it’s effectiveness.
As the brainchild of well established agricultural leaders Greenpro, it is backed by over twenty years of research and development. Owned and manufactured in Australia, the primary ingredient of Bioweed is actually sustainably sourced pine oil, and is even approved by NASAA, ACO and APVMA for use around organic farms and food production.
Are you on the hunt for a safer way to spray, or simply want to know more about organic gardening practices? Check out other tips and tricks in our online advice forum, or contact us for any further queries.