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Community Gardens: The Whys and Hows

The environmental and health benefits of factoring green spaces into urban areas are well documented. This is one reason why community garden initiatives are blooming all over the country. But what exactly is a community garden, and how can you get involved?

Community Gardens

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What They Are

Grow defines community gardens as ‘a piece of land gardened by a group of people for the benefit of the group and the wider community’. Historically these gardens were used to meet the demand for fresh produce in urban areas, particularly during the Second World War when obtaining fruit and vegetables wasn’t always easy.

These days a community garden can range from a small vegetable plot to a large leisure area. Some grow food, others focus on plants. They come with a variety of aims, objectives and purposes, but one thing they have in common is that they are run and managed by local volunteers.

What They Do

A community garden could be a great pastime for green fingered folk who live in homes with no garden of their own, allowing them to hone their gardening skills and become familiar with all things garden-related – from hand propelled petrol lawn mowers (like these http://www.chiffchaffoutdoor.com/tiger-tm4016hp-40cm-16-hand-propelled-petrol-lawn-mower.html) to herbaceous borders.

Some community gardens act as rehabilitation centres, others may be used as an outdoor classroom for schoolchildren. Some are open to the public, others are private. They come in all shapes and sizes, but ultimately their aim is to benefit and unite communities, bringing together different cultures, generations and socio-economic groups who live in the same area. There’s also the added benefit that their aesthetic presence in urban areas is greatly appreciated by the rest of the community.

Why You Should Join

As well as getting involved with the local community, gardening in general has a wealth of mental and physical health benefits – so much so that The Royal Horticultural Society believes gardening therapy should be made available on the NHS! The exercise involved with gardening is good for cardiovascular health and muscle strengthening, while the repetitive act of gardening whilst being close to nature is thought to promote calmness and positive mental health. All of this while making friends and making a worthwhile contribution to your community.

So what are you waiting for? Get gardening in your community today!

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