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One Perma-Culture Community Garden For Each Neighborhood?

LaMar Willis' dream for the under-served communities of Southern California: One full-scale Perma-Culture Community Garden for each neighborhood.

Here is why?

Community gardens are part of the sharing economy. They make it possible for many people to enjoy a resource – in this case, land for gardening – that they couldn’t afford on their own. However, it’s not just the gardeners themselves who gain from community gardens – the benefits extend to the rest of the neighborhood and even to the entire city as a whole.

Here are a number of the benefits of community gardens:

  • Beautifying Cities. Many community gardens sit on what were once vacant lots filled with rubbish. When urban gardeners take over, they clear away the debris and replace it with lush greenery. Community gardening turns urban eyesores into vibrant green space, which improves the quality of life for everyone in the neighborhood – not just the people who actually tend the garden. There’s even some evidence that having a community garden increases property values in the surrounding area.

  • Fresh Produce. Many urban neighborhoods are “food deserts” – places where it’s nearly impossible to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Community gardens provide fresh, nutritious produce for many families who couldn’t otherwise afford it, improving their diet and their overall health. They also relieve hunger by donating their excess produce to food pantries.

  • Healthy Lifestyles. Urban gardening gives the residents a chance to enjoy fresh air and healthy outdoor exercise. They also provide a peaceful retreat from the noise and bustle of the urban neighborhoods, easing stress for residents.

  • A Cleaner Environment. The plants in a community garden add oxygen to the air and help reduce air pollution. They also absorb rainwater, reducing the amount of runoff that runs through the streets and carries pollutants into the LA river.

  • Community gardens take part in composting, recycling plant waste such as leaves and tree trimmings from city streets into useful fertilizer.

  • Stronger Communities. Sharing a community garden gives people a chance to connect with their neighbors. Gardeners also feel more personally invested in the places where they live, gaining sense of ownership and community spirit. And because they get people out of their apartments where they can keep an eye on the street, community gardens can help reduce crime in the surrounding neighborhood.

  • Educational Opportunities. Working in a community garden is a good way for kids to learn about where food comes from and gain a basic introduction to environmental issues, work skills, and business principles. It can be educational for adults as well. Community gardens give people a chance to meet and learn about neighbors who come from different backgrounds, including people of different ages, races, cultures, and social classes.

We shall write more about this topic in the near future... Stay tuned.

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