Community Gardens and Urban Farms

Growing healthy foods and vibrant communities

Communities across the country are reaping the benefits of community gardens and urban farms. Groups of people are coming together to tend gardens and farms in backyards, on rooftops, in schoolyards, and on vacant lots. And they're growing more than vegetables--they're growing community.

A major challenge to ending childhood obesity is getting fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables on the table every day. Community gardens and urban farms are a great solution because they can bring affordable fruits and vegetables into communities that might not otherwise have them. But the benefits don't end there. Community gardens and urban farms provide the ideal conditions to teach children about food, physical activity, and working together.

These gardens and farms also provide a community green space that serves as a safe gathering place for families and community members to come together and enjoy the outdoors. They also contribute to the appearance of the neighborhood by transforming overgrown and littered vacant properties. And many communities that have developed gardens or farms have seen crime rates go down as community involvement and pride have gone up.

Environmental benefits are also significant as vacant lots and abandoned structures are cleaned up and plants are added, helping to enrich the soil, the air, and the water.

Community gardens and urban farms are as diverse as the people who tend them. Growers may adhere to a particular growing method, such as organic or no till, or simply approach growing with a conventional method. They may grow fruits, vegetables, flowers, or any combination of these products. Growers may choose to produce food for themselves, their community, local groups such as a church or school, or supplement a shelter or food bank. Whatever their style, appearance, or motivation, community gardens and urban farms offer endless opportunities for healthy eating, active living, and community enrichment.

 

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Case Studies

This community garden was revived in 2006 and now thrives as a source of fresh produce, cultural sharing and community pride.

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At its Juniper Gardens site, the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture is training new urban farmers and offering gardening plots to the community.

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