30 Apr National Gardening Week: The benefits of community gardens
This National Gardening Week we look at how community garden initiatives are great for the environment and your health.
Half of the world’s population currently live in cities, and this figure is expected to rise to 60% over the next decade. Keeping our residential areas liveable, sustainable and carbon neutral is one of the major challenges in urban policy and planning. Since the 1960s, communities across the UK have worked to transform unused plots of land into green spaces. These gardens allow local residents and volunteers to grow everything from wildflowers to fresh fruit and vegetables.
So, what can a community garden do for you and your local area? Here are a few of the benefits:
Great for the environment
Communal gardens support the local ecosystem and encourage wildlife diversity. The addition of wild plants and trees also helps to improve air quality and is a great way to lower CO2 levels. Turning vacant lots or waste ground into a productive, beneficial plot of green land is a big win for local communities. It makes them far less likely to be used for fly-tipping.
Growing food locally also helps cut down our carbon footprint. By cutting out transportation and packaging we can lower emissions by up to 5kg for every kilogram of fruit and vegetable produced.
Good for your health
Apart from the obvious benefits of clean air, having access to a local garden is a great way to get your daily ‘green exercise’. And top up your vitamin D while you are at it. A little light physical activity is not only great for the body, but it also has many benefits for your mental health. Gardening has been shown to reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety. It can also be a great way to meet and connect with your neighbours after a long winter of continual lockdowns.
Community gardens that encourage local school involvement have been shown to greatly benefit the education and development of their students. Learning about nature and our impact on the environment in a positive way is a great step towards engaging young people in sustainability. School can be a stressful experience, especially around exam time, and the chance to get some outdoor activity can be beneficial. It also helps develop soft skills like communication and team working.
What can you do?
The Land Trust conducted a survey in 2016 and found that every £1 invested in green spaces contributed the equivalent of up to £30 towards health and wellbeing. To find out more about community gardens in your area, or if you are considering setting up your own green space, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) have some great guides.
At ESS we support the transition to greener, low carbon communities. That is why we help our clients simplify their energy management, improve efficiency and lower emissions. Our goal is to help your business or local community build a strategy for a sustainable future.
To learn more about how we can help you reach your goals get in touch today.