One way people are responding to food safety concerns is by growing their own food. However, not everyone lives on property with enough space for a private plot. One solution is community gardens, which have become popular worldwide, numbering 18,000 in North America alone. In addition to providing low-cost, delicious food, these public spaces offer cities a range of other benefits.
Community gardens are located in a town or city and tended by local residents. Often, the land is on a vacant lot owned by the city. The site is divided into manageable plots, which may be tended by individuals or by the garden’s members collectively. Since the land is usually publicly owned, the cost for gardeners to lease it is minimal. In fact, New York City, which is home to more than 750 community gardens tended by more than 20,000 members, charges people just $1 a year to lease a plot. Other costs involve soil, tools, seeds, fencing, and so on. However, because they’re shared by many people, individual gardeners pay very little.
A community garden can quickly pay off, in terms of delicious fruits and vegetables, in addition to beautiful fl owers. Excess produce can be sold for a profi t at farmers markets. But a garden’s benefi ts don’t stop there. They also beautify cities, foster strong relationships among residents, and lower an area’s crime rate. Award-winning spaces like London’s Culpeper Community Garden even attract tourists. Beautiful and affordable, community gardens are often described as oases in crowded cities.