I live in an apartment in San Francisco. I have a porch, windowsills with different light levels, and some counter space to do any gardening that I’d like to do. However, I don’t have a yard. Therefore, if I wanted to get serious about outdoor gardening, I would need to explore other options. That’s gotten me wondering about community garden.
San Francisco Loves Community Gardens
San Francisco has over 40 community gardens. In case you didn’t know, this sixte is approximately 50 square miles in total. We have lots of people. And yet, we have lots of green space. You’ll find mini parks, small parks, rooftop gardens, and large parks all over. Plus we have beaches and other natural landscapes.
So, we have a lot of community gardens. You can join them as a resident. However, a lot of people want to get in on these. Therefore, there’s typically a waiting list.
Benefits of Community Gardens
From what I can see so far, there are a lot of great benefits to community gardens. There are benefits for the individuals who do the garden as well as for the larger community.
Gardens strengthen and beautify the local community. They bring the health and wellness of nature to urban areas. People come together in new ways, saying hi to their neighbors as the swap seeds and work side by side. I San Francisco, we often miss out on opportunities to mingle with different generations of people. Community gardens offer a great place to do that.
Sometimes these gardens give back through various programs. They might teach kids about gardening. Perhaps the healthy produce grown is given to people in need. Each garden is different but there are many ways that they give to the community.
I actually got started thinking about this when I was recently reading the popular book about Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson. The book is primarily about decluttering, but she mentions gardening several times. She loves gardening, and yet as she aged, she realized that she couldn’t do the massive gardening projects that she had done in the past. Therefore, when she downsized to a smaller house, she gifted all of the tools in her gardening shed to the new homeowners, who were thrilled to take on her gardening hobby.
7 Benefits to Consider
She moved to a place that has a garden for the apartment building. And she listed some of the benefits as:
- The whole area is kept beautiful whether or not she does the work.
- There’s always someone new to take on gardening tasks if you’re no longer up to the task.
- Sharing seeds and tools makes gardening more affordable.
She continues to grow small things on her balcony while also enjoying the community garden. Additional benefits for the individual include:
- An opportunity to learn more about gardening from those who know
- Friendship, connection, a reprieve from loneliness
- All of the mental and physical health benefits of connection to the earth
- Easy access to many different kinds of plants and produce even if you only grow one type yourself then barter
Have you ever tried a community garden? What are your thoughts?
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Kathryn Vercillo is a long time writer, crafter and author of several books. A resident of San Francisco, she is committed to helping others explore, articulate and share their own individuals stories. When she’s not evaluating investing opportunities Kathryn is an avid knitter, researcher, and blogger.