Community gardens are places where people come together to grow food and other plants, to learn new skills, meet other people and be part of their local community. The land used for these gardens is generally owned by local government, schools, churches and state government housing estates. There are two main types of community garden:
- Shared gardens, where gardeners have responsibility for the entire garden, working together to care for the plants and taking a share of what is produced.
- Allotment gardens, where gardeners each have their own plot and use it as they wish.
Many community gardens combine both shared and allotment gardens so you can choose which you prefer. Either way you will meet other people passionate about growing their own food. Some communal gardeners even organise regular events to prepare and eat the food they produce together.
Benefits of community gardens
Growing food in your local community garden has all of the benefits of growing your own food, together with many more. Firstly, community gardens provide families and individuals without land of their own with the opportunity to produce food. This can be particularly important for people from different cultures looking to grow traditional produce. They also bring together people from a variety of backgrounds, offering a cultural exchange between gardeners. Children and youths can learn about where food comes from and about living sustainably and caring for their environment.
You might be surprised to learn that community gardens:
- yield more produce per acre than traditional large-scale farming
- can reduce asthma rates, because children develop immunities by consuming small amounts of local pollen
- recycle garden waste such as tree trimmings, leaves and grass clippings
- are less expensive to maintain than parkland.
Community gardens are a great way to learn new skills, meet your neighbours, get some exercise and improve your local environment – not to mention the delicious, fresh produce you can enjoy as a result of your contribution.
Find your local community garden
With hundreds of community gardens in Victoria, there is likely to be one near you. From former bowling clubs to inner city rooftops, you might be surprised by the location of your local community garden. Use a directory search to find your local community garden or contact your council for more information. You might also consider starting a new community garden. And remember, you don’t need a lot of space to create a garden at home. Have you considered a balcony garden, wall garden or indoor garden?
A sustainable diet
For a variety of reasons, including lifestyle and ethical choices, some people choose to eat a plant rich diet. To find out more visit the Better Health Channel.