Community Gardens

Welcome back to another blog post! Last week we did a deep dive into pocket parks (read it here). The pocket park post was particularly relevant because they are a great way to begin adding parks and public green space into our own community! This week we wanted to play on that theme and talk about community gardens. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of adding more community gardens could have in Columbia Valley.

Benefits of Community Gardens

One of the most obvious benefits of community gardens is the access to fresh fruits and vegetables. If you have ever had homegrown fruits and vegetables, you know the quality and flavor is far superior to what you bring home from the grocery store. Gardening in the community setting also promotes a healthy lifestyle while giving the opportunity to connect with friends and neighbors.  Tending to your community garden plot will undoubtedly give access to your daily dose of fresh air. Gardening in the community offers the healthy lifestyle benefits of fresh air and exercise. As you tend your plot in the community garden you are also gaining a sense of ownership in your community and building positive relationships with neighbors. Finally, there is also a huge educational opportunity in community gardens both for children and adults. With current fast-paced lifestyles we often don’t get the opportunity to learn where our food comes from in person. Community gardening also helps you gain new skills and learn about natural processes while you learn the skills to grow your own food.

Image Credits from left: City of Bonney Lake, City of Clearwater, City of Eugene.

Community Gardens in Columbia Valley

As you may or may not know, Columbia Valley already has one community garden at the EWRCC near the Food Bank. The existing community garden is located off Kendall Road next to the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center and the Foothills Food Bank. Now it may seem unnecessary or redundant to have more than one community garden in the area,  Jessica Bee (CVPRD’s Chair Commissioner) has mentioned that often the garden plots will fill up and availability becomes an issue. Another thing to consider is that many people appreciate having a community garden within walking distance of their home as it offers easier and more opportunities for spending time in the garden. 

Community Gardens are such a great way to get outside and strengthen your community, why not increase access and availability of them in Columbia Valley? We can also get creative with the placement of community gardens. For example, if there is a homeowner that is willing to use their front lawn for garden space, that homeowner could designate some of that space for public use. This is known as a lawn share program. Of course, a kind of negotiation could occur where a percentage of produce grown is given to the lawn owner as a form of payment.

Overall, there are many different ways to bring more community green space to Columbia Valley, and community gardens would bring more access to fresh produce while also strengthening the community. To learn more about community gardens visit the links below in the Additional Resources section.

Image Credits from left: Urban Harvest, Tampa Bay Times, Helena Community Gardens.

Additional Resources

What Is a Community Garden – Benefits & How to Start Your Own

A Front Yard Becomes A Community Garden

Types of Community Gardens

The Many Benefits of Community Gardens
Community Gardens – Healthy Foods – CDC (Includes links to detailed case studies) 

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