Lo community gardens or social consist of a collection of urban plots for horticultural plants and is based on organic agriculture. Their work is largely due to exploitation agreements established by local authorities with one or more individuals. This garden is characterized by having common areas so that all project participants have access to a series of community infrastructures (services, roads, etc.) that facilitate agricultural work.
In this article we are going to tell you what community gardens are, their characteristics and benefits for society.
What are community gardens and their functions
Up to 5 main functions performed by the social garden can be distinguished:
- Urban planification: Convert degraded or abandoned spaces into useful places and improve urban landscapes by adding more green spaces per block or area.
- Environment: They act as filters to prevent pollution, act as lungs and improve air quality with pure oxygen.
- Treatment: Growing outdoors offers many benefits related to personal health and well-being, as it helps eliminate stress and involves moderate physical activity.
- Socialization: Community gardens are a great opportunity for joint activities, whether for family, therapeutic, educational reasons or simply as a hobby.
- Culture: Through agricultural work, traditions associated with rural and local knowledge are maintained and renewed through learning and the actions of new actors.
Classification of community gardens
This classification can include more examples, as many common objectives (scientific, commercial, etc.) as possible can be marked in each project, and the denomination of each orchard will vary according to the geographical area. The most common orchards are:
- Self-supply garden: As its name indicates, the main function is to provide food to those responsible for the crop, so that it can be self-sufficient.
- Educational gardens: With didactic functions, it can be used for school study, a university environment or with the elderly. They are located inside the center and on the outside plot.
- Therapeutic orchards: They are used to help people with some degree of disability or handicap, psychological problems, drug addiction, etc. They depend on social assistance programs.
- Leisure gardens: Of a playful nature, which is why they represent a hobby of the participants, who are in charge of agricultural tasks in their free time, generally during vacations.
Faced with the stress of daily life and work, the social garden becomes a space where we can share with others the resources that the earth offers us.
Sowing ways of living in the city
A socially just and sustainable future implies an urgent eco-urban renewal, in which urban agriculture must play a strategic role. The relationship between human settlements and surrounding agricultural land is one of the main factors that define human society. Historically, cities have referred to agriculture until industrialization accelerated and access to abundant and cheap energy enabled further urbanization, long-distance transportation, and the expansion of global markets.
The rise of industrial cities fostered a fictitious independence from locally produced food supplies and seasonal supplies, contributing to the gradual degradation and alienation of agricultural spaces. Mirages, economic and energy crises and excess cargo capacity of the planet begin to be questioned. A socially just and sustainable future implies an urgent eco-urban renewal, in which urban agriculture must play a strategic role.
In recent years, urban community gardens have experienced a real revolution in cities around the world for different reasons, although they show a greater awareness of the need to continue being sustainable and to understand the origin and quality of the food we eat. Are consumed. This trend has resulted in 15% of the world’s food today comes from crops grown in urban areas, whether in gardens, rooftops, large squares in open spaces or vacant lots.
In fact, these initiatives are making a positive contribution to society, especially the so-called community urban gardens. From promoting healthier and more conscious communities to reducing the so-called heat island effect, here we highlight 10 benefits of urban community gardens:
- Facilitates access to fresh and quality food, such as fruits and vegetables, to improve quality of life and health.
- Promotes a better social environment in the neighborhood by allowing Let neighbors interact and get to know each other. Encourage the development of community identity.
- They allow the integration of groups such as the elderly or immigrants who find here a recreational activity that keeps them active and allows them to socialize with other age or cultural groups.
- Promotes better mental health by helping to combat stress.
- They serve as educational centers, especially for children, about responsibility, sustainability, caring for the environment and valuing the effort to grow their own food.
- Community gardens also help reduce the impact of what is known as a “heat island.” The thermal inertia of the water present in the plants and the field itself allows the orchard to absorb heat, thus reducing temperature fluctuations.
- They become urban shelters for other animals, like pollinators.
- It can lower food bills and serve as a food support system for low-income families.
- It enhances a community’s sense of belonging and helps the community salvage, reassess, and properly utilize vacant lots that would otherwise end up littered.
- Help reduce organic waste in your community by using it as compost.
Local communities promoting community gardens organize to regenerate degraded urban spaces on a small scale, incorporating modest redevelopment of sites, emphasizing the use value of urban spaces and relational restoration aimed at restoring the quality of spaces by strengthening social relations (developing events such as popular festivals, restaurants or cultural initiatives).
These micro-urban practices express disagreements about the dominant model of the city and the way of life it engenders. Community gardens express multiple sensitivities, needs and requirements at the local level (environmental, neighborhood, political, relational…) while initiating a process of self-management at the neighborhood level, emphasizing direct participation, the occupation of space, the renewal of identity and collective community co-responsibility in the different matters that affect them.
I hope that with this information you can learn more about community gardens and their characteristics.