Gardens Are a Serious Answer to Food Problems and Health
The world is faced with a difficult dilemma. Available food supply and access to this supply are out of
synch. For the poorest this is a matter of survival. For more fortunate it is a matter of good economics and proper
approaches to land use. The right amount of food in the right location is the goal. Community gardening can be an important
part of the solution.
In community gardens people of all ages
and backgrounds participate in the first step in what ecologists call a food chain that at minimum keeps humans alive and
at optimum keeps humans healthy.
versus private approaches to solving problems are often intensely debated. Community gardens are a microcosm that shows
that public and private approaches can work together and are not mutually exclusive.
Community gardens can be centrally located. The public shares land to cooperatively
grow produce to use, exchange, or give away. At the same time each person has private proprietorship over an individual
Decentralized community gardening can
also work. Individuals can cultivate gardens on their own property. Produce can then be sold, exchanged
or given away in the immediate neighborhood or taken to a another location in the community such as a produce market.
Community gardens provide an alternative to large agricultural areas.
British economist E F Schumacher promoted the concept of appropriate scale. Community gardens are on a scale that is
appropriate to growing food near to where food is needed. This decreases expenses such as fossil fuels needed for transport.
Many countries have a history of community gardening. During
WWII Americans planted victory gardens. Community gardens are making inroads once again in this new century as
towns and schools are developing gardens to grow food and as tools to improve mental and physical well being.
A hallmark of community gardens is greater participation by humans that results in
improved energy efficiencies. There is less reliance on fossil fuel consuming machinery to sow, maintain, and harvest.
Growing food becomes sustainable in community gardens because there is less need for synthetic fertilizers and pesticides
French intensive gardening works well in community gardens.
This method concentrates plants such as in a small yard in an inner city. The California Academy of Sciences
in San Francisco is publicizing ideas that can work in urban areas such as use of a green roof that serves as a garden ecosystem.
Another advantage of greater concentrations of plants is the enhanced
sequestering of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. The science of agroecology pioneered by the University of California
demonstrates that the sum productivity on small parcels of land is greater than on a single large parcel.
The G8 nations have called for small farm operations to have access
to food markets. The United Nations funds investment in sustainable agriculture and focuses on small land holders and
women farmers who make up 60% of the world's hungry. In developed countries people find that kitchen gardens
and potagers yield a broad variety of flavorful and nutritious fruits and vegetables.
to the land such as that experienced in a gardening context are intellectually and emotionally rewarding. Community
gardens may not be the whole solution in connecting food supply to where food is needed. However, as the world struggles over ways to improve our collective well being, community gardens
can be a simple, dependable, and significant part of the solution.
Community gardens advocate based in California
www.CommunityGardensAsAppleseeds.infoCommunity Gardens Are a Serious Answer to Food Problems and Health