Gardening has played an important part in the culture in many civilisations. Gardening not only provides a recreational pastime for many people, but their gardens give a sense of well-being, peace and aesthetic charm. Some have become a status symbol.
With an increasing interest in organics and the farm-to-table journey, home gardening is becoming more popular as a means of providing delicious, more nutritious chemical-free food while respecting the environment.
Community gardens have also had their place in history, providing food for families all year round. During World War II, ‘victory gardens’ provided food for American families. Gardens span culture. In the aftermath of the Vietnam War, North Vietnamese soldiers were also given access to land on community farming plots as a reward for service.
Community gardens have many positive effects. They have economic benefits, increasing long-term food security, reducing ‘food deserts’ in disadvantaged areas, and providing access to hard-to-get cultural foods.
Besides the ‘food production’ aspects of gardening, there are many social and psychological benefits. Like many community endeavours, gardens can bring people together, increasing interaction and decreasing isolation and stress. They also foster a sense of community spirit and well-being while decreasing crime rates. There’s a sense of accomplishment gained from producing something useful, whether it be to eat or to give away, as well as the benefits of physical activity and being outdoors.
Gardens also have an educational impact. Not only do gardeners learn new skills, but children also learn about food sources, they learn to look after resources and to appreciate the hard work that goes into food production.
Whether you live in an apartment or on an acreage, it’s possible to find space to begin a garden, even a small one. Today, some communities farm together, while others share produce they’ve grown, either in a formal or informal way.
Whether the garden be in a home or community, a school or organisation, gardens provide urban improvement to spaces which may otherwise be unused, with benefits for everyone along the way.
To get involved in community gardening on the Gold Coast, contact:
NOTE: This article was published in The Sun on 8 May 2018.