Strengthening Communities Through Community Gardens
With summer slowly fading and the harsh months of winter in the distance, the magnetic appeal of growing one’s own vegetables and herbs is more important than ever for many of us. Previously, we’ve talked about the health benefits of gardening and how to raise indoor houseplants, but one hobby we haven’t mentioned is community gardening.
Community gardens begin as collective spaces managed as a collaborative effort that leverage the expertise, time and energy of fellow gardeners who come together to provide fruits, vegetables and all varieties of fresh produce for anyone in the neighborhood to enjoy. And by their very nature, community gardens also add green space and vibrant beauty to city blocks that may be defined by asphalt and concrete.
With people working closely — literally and figuratively — community gardens improve personal well-being through social connections and have even been found to decrease violence in some neighborhoods.
Zoe Hansen-DiBello, program manager and visionary at Grow Education, helps promote healthy food access in neighborhoods by implementing community gardens. At TedxNewBedford, Hansen-DiBello explains the all-around engagement and respect that community gardens helped to encourage in a neighborhood close to her. Watch Hansen-DiBello’s talk below.
Gardens galore in Bronzeville
The popularity of urban farming and the adoption of community gardens can be seen throughout neighborhoods in large cities across the country — including our very own Bronzeville.
Situated at 4148-4156 S. Calumet Avenue, the Bronzeville Neighborhood Farm connects those living in the neighborhood with the use of green spaces and gardens. Managed by the Bronzeville Alliance and protected by NeighborSpace, the garden is a hub for community members to forge meaningful relationships built on the experience of working together towards a common purpose — tending the gardens and sharing the rich yield of fresh fruits and vegetables with each other and with the community writ large.
The neighborhood is also home to the Bronzeville Community Garden, located at 343 E. 51st Street. Supported by Build Bronzeville, the garden hosts many community events throughout the year including Volunteer Days and Crochet & Conversation meetups. Along with urban farming, the Garden is home to public art projects that enhance the outdoor spaces and provide additional reasons for neighbors to stop.
Starting your own garden
Thinking about starting your own community garden? One of the best places to start, The American Community Gardening Association provides a comprehensive education and resource platform for starting a garden of your own, along with a map of community gardens located across the country.