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Urban settings offer many conveniences; a little land access can be one!
If you’re looking for more ways to live sustainably where you reside; then put community gardening at the top of your list.
In general, community gardens are an opportunity for people to increase self-sufficient living in otherwise limiting environments.
Sustaining yourself, even partly, is a benefit to everyone.
By partaking in a community garden, you will be able to partly provide for your food needs.
Growing some of your own food means that you will be able to demand less from others. The less we can demand outsourced food and soil; the more we collectively save precious resources while reducing unnecessary pollution.
Community gardens can exist in urban and rural settings. In different ways, community gardens promote sustainability through greater wealth and well-being for both types of areas.
Read on for more details about all the ways community gardens promote sustainability.
Cultivates a community that shares four main interests
Most community gardeners stop in to check on their plots when it’s most convenient for them. For this reason, deep social dynamics in this setting can be tricky to develop.
A simple way to mitigate this could be scheduling a weekly meet-up time slot for community members. You’d be able to stop in whenever you want and optionally attend the group meet-up as often as you can!
People who are motivated to take part in a community garden will typically have strong interests in sustainable living, growing food, healthy eating, and breathing fresh air.
Finding commonalities between the people you interact with can lead to many more learning opportunities.
Building relationships through community is an essential way to create a more self-sufficient and sustainable way of life. Even if you don’t have land!
Maintains your physical health in four simple ways
#1 – Gardening includes a diverse range of movement types. Simply by moving in the ways you need to perform garden tasks will maintain necessary body functions for you to produce food on human scale. In doing so with proper posture, you’ll be able to garden stronger for longer in life.
Active movments improve the longevity of six crucial body structures. This includes the muscles, bones, joints, heart, lungs, and brain.
#2 – By having fresh grown fruit and vegetables you’ll have no choice but to make better food choices! What are you to do with your hard earned harvest other than eat it?
#3 – Making better food choices more often will reduces the risk of preventable chronic diseases. Not only will you be eating fruit and vegetables because you grew them; you’re likely to have higher quality versions!
We’re used to eating old produce that was picked unripe and colored by chemicals. Your harvest will be fresh, ripe, and include beneficial living organisms on the surface. Thanks to your cared-for growing conditions; your own grown food is likely more nutrient dense than store bought.
#4 – Getting outdoors more often can help keep your lungs healthier. Depending on where you live and what you live in; indoor air quality can be between 2-100 times worse than outdoor air (Source).
Saves you more money on groceries than you might think
In a community garden you will have the choice to grow what ever your climate allows.
To save the most money at the grocery store you’d want to look at growing a combination of what you actually eat and the items that are the most expensive.
This 2014 study revealed that about 2.55lbs of produce could be grown per plant over the time span of 4 months. They primarily grew high value crops like tomatoes and peppers. Crops that take up less ground space. Their savings was $435 when compared to the store prices back then!
Think about what the savings would be now. Food value per plant doesn’t decline with time as long as you take good care of your soil. With good practice you could still average the 2.55lbs of produce and make double of not triple the savings in today’s markets.
Back in 2013, a homestead blogger Kristina saved $1,492.89 on groceries with a 12ft x 14ft plot. While you might not have the same plot size and startup costs may look different; there is always room for savings even if it isn’t right away.
While things like tomatoes are climbing in cost due to unsustainable production; in your well cared-for conditions, they’ll always grow abundantly per plant. Plus, the taste of a store tomatoes versus garden tomatoes will never match in quality!
Another advantage is that your crops will benefit from being companion planted with herbs. For good reason, fresh herbs are stupid expensive in stores! Yet in your garden, they’ll always be the easiest thing to grow.
Reduces demand for three forms of energy waste
Eating food directly from your community garden production efforts will eliminate the need for transportation, food processing, and packaging!
All three of those processes take up tons of fuel and often needless resources.
When food is grown on human scale garden plots; the type of fuel used reverts back to a human-scale energy. When it is your own food, no packaging or covering of the food is required.
Creates local compost which is important for three things
Keeping your compostable food scraps from garden or grocery store produce will help keep your community garden a closed-loop system. Over time, as everyone brings back their food scraps to the community garden it will help save the need to replenish soil fertility from outside sources.
To create a balanced community compost; here is everything to include for sustaining your community garden.
Composting your scraps also keeps useful material out of landfills while preventing unnecessary methane production.
Furthermore, gardening and saving scraps helps reduce the cost of urban compost or garbage pickup services. Growing your food means you buy less packaged food; meaning you’ll have less garbage to throw away. Having your own place to put compost means a special pickup service is not required.
Make a habit of keeping your household compost and bringing it with you everytime you visit the community garden. Be sure to take stickers off of grocery store produce.
Preserves habitats for five realms of biodiversity
As we know by now, community gardening can help maintain more livable and affordable conditions for people.
The same goes for plants, mammals, insects, and soil life!
The ultimate cost is not of money but resources. Your community garden can and should provide intentional resources for inviting all other life forms. A livable environment relies on everyone’s ease, not just our own.
Spares homesteaders time and energy on solo gardens
Community gardens and their benefits are not exclusive to urban areas!
Many homesteaders could use more reasons to connect with their community for building a more self-sufficient way of life. Food makes coming together easier because we like to eat on the daily!
Homesteaders are more likely to have land space for large community gardens or solo gardens. Managing a large space on your own can be exhausting throughout the entirety of a season, offer few breaks over spring and summer, and can be overall difficult without machine use.
This is where community gardening for rural areas can make the work go by faster for everyone involved. With all the components and ongoing maintenance of a garden, splitting the workload is much easier on both able-bodies and frail-bodies.
People with less able-bodies are likely folks who can offer valuable experience for greater growing success.
Teaches new generations four essential values in school settings
#1 – Self-sufficiency skills are important for both understanding the basics of life and when it comes to operating sustainable businesses. School community gardens will teach important self-sufficiency skills to kids while offering hands on experiences.
#2 – Understanding where food comes from and how much work it takes to produce food is more likely to reduce needless waste from picky eating. Many people of current generations who have never sown a seed don’t understand how incredibly cheap food is at grocery stores. The hidden cost of resource destruction is not accounted for in pricing. Food prices are hiking because we have a debt to our environment.
#3 – By offering a community garden class in school, kids have an opportunity to develop a connection to their environment. This can result in greater care about what they do to the environment. Understanding that what we do to our environment is ultimately what we do to ourselves. Giving people and new generations less motivation to litter or lessen the desire to buy goods in unnecessary packaging.
#4 – Children in school also flourish in outdoor environments because they are avid observers who sponge insights. A community garden class would remove students from indoor spaces more often and provide more time in their day to move around out of their seats.
How To Nurture a Community Garden For True Sustainability
A community garden will be most sustainable if you garden in a sustainable way. Your community garden will sustain you to the extent that you sustain it in return!
There is a difference between community gardens making your life more sustainable and sustaining a community garden!
Here is Everything To Include For a Sustainable Community Garden for renewable methods to grow your food. Some strategies can be applied to your personal plot while other ideas are for you to plan out with your community; you’ll be able to help lower everyone’s cost of regenerating the space.
This article was originally published on foodforestliving.com. If it is now published on any other site, it was done without permission from the copyright owner.
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