ABOUT COMMUNITY GARDENS
A community garden is a shared growing space that is maintained by community members to enjoy for themselves, their family, and sharing with others.
There are many different types of community gardens – the model of the garden will reflect the needs or goals of the community or the organizing group.
Here are some examples of the kinds of community gardens in Niagara:
Individual plot or “allotment” gardens – garden space is divided into plots that are rented or leased for the season by an individual, family or organization, who is responsible for the planting, maintenance and harvest for their own use. Gardeners are free to work on their plots when it suits their own schedule. This model provides garden space to those that may not otherwise have land for growing. This model works well for gardeners who want to work independently and have different goals.
Sharing gardens – a group works together in one large garden space and shares the harvest, either for their own use or to support a local food program, such as a food bank. This style takes a lot of teamwork and works best with a smaller number of gardeners. This model also works well for groups such as schools, churches, organizations, or community centres.
Mixed gardens – a combination of both individual plots and sharing garden spaces. Having shared garden spaces is a great option for perennial herbs, fruit trees or for testing unique crops or ones that can be too large for smaller plots (for example corn).
Teaching, Demonstration, Therapeutic + School Gardens – community gardens can help children, youth and the broader community to learn how to grow vegetables and develop skills. In schools, using gardens as teaching spaces can help share practical gardening skills while meeting course outcomes in subjects like science, social studies, and math. Gardens can also be used as effective therapeutic space for practitioners to work with their clients.
Community Garden Benefits
Community gardens offer many different benefits to individuals, families, neighbourhoods, and to the broader community. They:
- Strengthen neighbourhood cohesion, diverse community organizing, grassroots leadership and shared decision making
- Create shared community spaces that brings people together and encourages cooperation, friendship, and understanding among diverse groups
- Produce healthy, affordable food to improve nutrition and reduce household food costs and to share with others in the community including those in need
- Include environmentally sustainable gardening techniques, and encourage respect and honour for heirloom and culturally diverse foods
- Provide safe, inclusive spaces to garden for those who seek one, so that all can benefit from gardening
Food Security in Niagara
Community gardens provide important access to fresh locally grown food to many people in Niagara. Many gardeners grow food not only for themselves and their families, but also give back by donating excess produce to local food banks and programs to help those in need.
Food security is a basic human right yet almost 60,000 people in Niagara are food insecure, experiencing limited access to nutritious, affordable and culturally appropriate food.
Our goal is to work with Niagara’s municipalities to help co-create barrier free access to all residents to fresh healthy nutritious food. Our position statement amplifies the need to address specific barriers that community gardens face in Niagara to improve food security through community gardens.
#foodsecurity #reducebarriers #supportlocal #Niagara
We rely on sponsorship from local community members and businesses. Our gardens are always in need of things like garden tools, compost and soil, mulch, tomato cages, stakes, trellises, pots and plants.