avatar image for Julie Cook
Julie Cook Kitchener Apr 1, 2024 12:48 pm
Hi all, 
At a time of increased food insecurity due to higher grocery prices around the world, community gardens are becoming more and more important as a source of food, health, self-sufficiency, and companionship. At the same time, barriers to accessing food are quite low. There are many examples of community gardens around the world where food is given for free to people in need, either at the community garden site, or off site at a school or homeless shelter. 
One of the most wonderful things about community gardens are that they are accessible to anyone; no need to buy an electric car or bamboo toothbrush. Community gardens are a powerful way for marginalized people to connect and learn skills, whether it is criminals adjusting to society, people with disabilities, immigrants, or people who have low income that need alternatives to high priced grocery stores. The pandemic brought on a huge wave of people interested in community gardens for that very reason. 
Many community gardens offer instructional workshops where people can enhance their gardening and cooking skills. Some also hold events like barbecues, concerts, celebrations, and even yoga lessons for people in their neighbourhood. I have also come across a community garden that grows traditional Indigenous medicines like sage, tobacco, and sweetgrass. Partnerships with churches, schools, and other community groups add power to the potential for community gardens to make change with regard to food security and sustainability in urban areas. 
According to a research study out of Prague, the most frequent reason for the end of community gardens is a lack of participation (even moreso than a loss of funding or loss of land), so keeping people involved and motivated over time is critical. 
If you’d like some ideas for how to start a community garden in your area, including possibilities for funding, please see the following articles here, here, and here