Each year, as spring enters full swing, gardeners and farmers across the state of Ohio begin planting new fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, and other plants. In urban areas, some of these gardeners have banded together to form community gardens. These green spaces are located on an open plot of land and shared between participants who live in the community. Together, individuals care for the gardens and share in the rewards, including affordable fresh produce.
Research shows that households with community garden participants eat fruits and vegetables more than those who don’t, and they are more likely than non-gardeners to eat the recommended daily amount. Participants also have lower body mass indexes (BMIs), a tool for measuring body fat. For urban areas that often lack grocery stores and access to fresh produce, these gardens provide opportunities for community members to learn about gardening, get active, and become physically healthier as a result.
But the benefits of these gardens go far beyond simply providing accessible, healthy food; they can also improve the mental health of the entire community. People who garden for at least 30 minutes a week have higher levels of self-esteem and better moods overall. They also have less stress and tension. Community gardens also help to beautify vacant lots or industrial areas, which can also help neighborhoods be safer and happier. In fact, some research even shows that community gardens may lead to higher homeownership rates and revitalized communities.
Get involved in your community, and join a garden near you! North Community Counseling Centers has its own community garden, located at the Bridge location. Planting begins on Friday, May 17, from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. The garden is open to all NCCC clients, friends, children, and members of the community!