Ok, you got me. I dropped the ball on Earth Day this year. April 22nd was just another Tuesday. I have to admit, it’s been a little difficult to get into the spirit with Old Man Winter creeping around every corner just waiting for us to pack up our toques and mittens so he can grace us with one last snowfall. Now, with the month of May just beginning, it might finally be safe for us to declare Spring!
With Spring comes the urge to take out those shovels, dig out that lawn mower, and make that first trip to your local garden centre - but if you’re a city dweller like me, that’s easier said than done. My solution? Think bigger! A community garden or urban farm is the perfect opportunity to improve your neighborhood and satisfy your green thumb at the same time.
What is a community garden?
Any piece of land gardened by a group of people. Community gardens can be in containers, in the ground, on rooftops, or nestled between buildings like this one in downtown Toronto. They can be housed in a collection of individual plots, a large community plot, or a mixture of both. They can grow vegetables, fruits, flowers, native plants, herbs, or all of the above. No matter what the shape, size, or location, community gardens all have one important element: the people growing in the garden share ideas, resources, and experiences rather than working alone.
Why start a community garden?
The benefits to yourself and your community are endless! You get physical exercise, stress relief and mental relaxation, a sense of community belonging, increased consumption of fruit and vegetables, and time with your friends and family. Your community gets increased food security, chemical-free food consumption, improved population health, beautification, and a sense of empowerment.
How do I start a community garden?
For this one, I will defer to the experts. FoodShare, a non-profit organization here in Toronto, has resources for everything you need to know.
If your community already has a garden or if starting one just isn’t something you can make room for on your plate right now, consider making a donation or starting a fundraising campaign to help it along. Our team did just that when we raised money for the community garden at 40 Oaks, a neighborhood in Regent Park.
For more urban farming and gardening inspiration, check out our Community Pinterest board.
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