Community Gardens

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of Minnesotans have difficulty getting to stores with affordable fruits and vegetables. Community gardens are a great way to provide access to fruits and vegetables while building relationships among neighbors, increasing physical activity and lowering stress. And the green space added to a community increases a sense of well-being and belonging.

THE ENDLESS BENEFITS OF COMMUNITY GARDENS

Economic Value

Community gardens have been shown to increase property values of homes nearby. Also, multiple studies have shown that community gardens yield foods worth hundreds of dollars — the food and financial savings could be critically important to people with limited incomes or in neighborhoods without access to grocery stores.

Crime Prevention

As neighbors build stronger relationships with one another, they are more prone to look out for one another as well. Stronger relationships — combined with more people being out in the community on a regular basis — increase eyes on the street.

Community

Community gardens bring people from a wide range of backgrounds together, build community leaders and can lead to community-based efforts to deal with other social concerns.

Education

Kids who help with gardening learn where foods come from and are more likely to try—and like—vegetables they help to grow. They also learn about weather, the environment and working together.

Environment

Community gardens increase oxygen in the air and decrease air pollution, while also filtering rainwater to keep lakes, rivers and groundwater clean.

Real Stories of Minnesotans Pulling Together

Community gardens are an important connecting place at Hope Community. From planting and harvesting to preparing meals together, gardening strengthens the community and its members. See the video at CenterforPreventionMN.com.

steps for action

How can you implement a garden in your community?
Where do you start? Here are a few ideas adapted from
the American Community Gardening Association!

organize a meeting of interested people

Determine whether a garden is really needed and wanted, what kind it should be (vegetable, flower, both, organic?), whom it will involve and who benefits. Invite neighbors, tenants, community organizations, gardening and horticultural societies, building superintendents (if it is at an apartment building) and anyone else who might be interested.

determine rules and put them in writing

The gardeners themselves devise the best ground rules. Ground rules help gardeners to know what is expected of them. Some examples: dues; how will the money be used; how are plots assigned; and will gardeners share tools, meet regularly, handle basic maintenance.

choose a site

Consider the amount of daily sunshine (vegetables need at least six hours a day), availability of water, and soil testing for possible pollutants. Find out who owns the land. Can the gardeners get a lease agreement for at least three years? Will public liability insurance be necessary?

help members keep in touch

Good communication ensures a strong community garden with active participation by all. Some ways to do this are: form a telephone tree; create an email list; install a rainproof bulletin board in the garden; have regular celebrations. Community gardens are all about creating and strengthening communities.

prepare and develop the site, then organize the garden

In most cases, the land will need considerable preparation for planting. Organize volunteer work crews to clean it, gather materials and decide on the design and plot arrangement. Members must decide how many plots are available and how they will be assigned. Allow space for storing tools, making compost and don’t forget the pathways between plots. Plant flowers or shrubs around the garden’s edges to promote good will with non-gardening neighbors, passersby and municipal authorities.
  • Making Healthy Choices Possible for All Minnesotans

    The Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota tackles the leading causes of preventable disease -- tobacco use, physical inactivity and unhealthy eating -- to increase health equity, transform communities and create a healthier state.