Blairgowrie Community Garden

Benefits of Community Gardens

 

Community gardens are places where people come together to grow food and learn the skills of fruit and vegetable growing.  Community gardens are natural living, sensory environments. They encourage people to be physically active and they offer a place for people to put down roots. Not only do they connect people with plants, food and culture, most importantly they connect people with other people. Whilst gardening is the focus, community gardens are generally community hubs for a range of activities – learning and education, arts and creative activities, preparing and sharing food, community events, celebrations and social enterprise.

Research has shown that community gardens have lots of benefits other than just growing vegetables:

  • Children learn that good food does not always come from the supermarket

  • by growing some of their own food, individuals and families have access to fresh, nutritious food and the mixed meals that support nutritional health

  • because it involves physical activity, community gardening promotes physical fitness and health.

  • learning to grow plants is mentally stimulating and adds to an individual's knowledge and expertise

  • because organic gardening is a knowledge-based system of gardening rather than one based on quick fixes, it encourages learning in the community gardens in which it is used

  • community gardens are used by community education, TAFE, schools and universities as learning venues

  • gardens are used for community education such as waste minimisation and the recycling of wastes through composting and mulching.

  • community gardening is a social activity involving shared decision making, problem solving and negotiation, increasing these skills among gardeners

  • as places where people come together with a common purpose, community gardens are places where people get to meet others

  • as social venues, community gardens can be used to build a sense of community and belonging; community workers already use the gardens for these purposes.

  • community gardens re-green vacant lots and bring vegetational diversity to public open space and other areas, making them a useful tool for urban improvement

  • the diversity of plant types found in community gardens provides habitat for urban wildlife, increasing their value for improving the natural environment.

 

Gardens and Children

 

At our new Blairgowrie Community Garden we want children to learn, grow and share. We want parents and grandparents to bring children to participate in a fun time.

Being part of a community garden gives kids and their families opportunities to be active together, share cultural traditions and develops a sense of belonging to the community.

Keeping the garden organic makes it safer for kids to pick, smell, touch and taste the plants which develops their senses and language through questioning and wondering about the living world of plants and small creatures.

Kids gets a chance to roam and explore in a natural environment which gives them a sense of control over what they choose to experience and how they make choices and decisions. Not only do they get to gain knowledge of plants, wildlife and value the environment, they also get to plan, build and invent with loose parts and structures within the open land space.

Including children in the planning and working process to maintain a shared garden space develops:

  • a sense of ownership and understanding of the world around them

  • respect and concern for the environment and wildlife

  • recycling and minimising waste  by composting, mulching and worm farming

  • decision making and problem solving

  • communication and social skills to make new friends

  • the value of cooperating with other people and the community they live in.

According to the Victorian Government Better Health web site:

Children can learn new skills, have fun, play and develop self-confidence by spending time in the garden tending plants and growing their own food. Most children enjoy being outdoors and love digging in the soil, getting dirty, creating things and watching plants grow.

Children learn from growing things

People of all ages can enjoy gardening, but children in particular will have lots of fun and gain special benefits. Gardening is educational and develops new skills including:

  • Responsibility – from caring for plants

  • Understanding – as they learn about cause and effect (for example, plants die without water, weeds compete with plants)

  • Self-confidence – from achieving their goals and enjoying the food they have grown

  • Love of nature – a chance to learn about the outdoor environment in a safe and pleasant place

  • Reasoning and discovery – learning about the science of plants, animals, weather, the environment, nutrition and simple construction

  • Physical activity – doing something fun and productive

  • Cooperation – including shared play activity and teamwork

  • Creativity – finding new and exciting ways to grow food

  • Nutrition – learning about where fresh food comes from.”

 

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