Community Gardens: Bringing People Together
Young people will grab raspberries or tomatoes and run around on the narrow wood chip paths. They will notice the multitude of creatures crawling in a wheelbarrow full of compost, or butterflies and bees visiting flowers, or the way that soil smells and feels just after rain. The value of the garden seems to be in the connections that people make there – hence it really is a community garden!
In another sense, the community aspect of any garden goes beyond the people who work and play there. In ecology, a community refers to the total collection of organisms that interact with one another in a particular place. Vegetables and flowers are only a part of the garden community. It also includes weedy plants, insect herbivores that nibble the leaves, their predators (mostly birds and other insects), a host of microbes, fungi, and invertebrates that decompose dead matter in the soil, rabbits that much on the lettuce at night, and people, too.
While gardening we participate in an intricate system of interaction between different creatures. We shape this system, digging beds, planting and harvesting, deciding how many weeds to allow, but it also shapes us.
Benefits of Community Gardens:
- Improves the quality of life for people in the garden
- Provides a catalyst for neighborhood and community development
- Stimulates Social Interaction
- Encourages Self-Reliance
- Beautifies Neighborhoods
- Produces Nutritious Food
- Reduces Family Food Budgets
- Conserves Resources
- Creates opportunity for recreation, exercise, therapy, and education
- Reduces Crime
- Preserves Green Space
- Creates income opportunities and economic development
- Reduces city heat from streets and parking lots
- Provides opportunities for inter-generational and cross-cultural connections
Sacramento Community Gardens
The Department of Parks and Recreation operates several permanent community gardens. For more information on contact Bill Maynard, (916) 808-4943.
LISTING OF CURRENT SACRAMENTO COMMUNITY GARDENS: http://www.cityofsacramento.org/parksandrecreation/parks/community_garden.htm
Visit SACGC Community Garden Website: http://saccommunitygardens.org/gardens.html