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Community Gardens Grow Healthy Communities!

September 16, 2011
Community Gardens San Diego County

Community Gardens Grow Healthy Communities!

The benefits of Community Gardens touch each community as a whole, families, and the physical and emotional well being of individuals.   When Michelle Obama rose to the challenge of our country to start a White House Garden, involving local school children and then using it as a platform for promoting healthier eating for kids (Let’s Move! ), Community Gardens’ popularity soared across the country.

Community Gardens bring neighbors and strangers together to grow fresh, many times organic, produce that they might not otherwise be able to afford.  They beautify their neighborhoods, decrease crime and perhaps even increase property values.  Participants may learn a bit about new cultures as well as about how to co-exist.  Expertise, recipes and traditions are shared, knowledge about food systems and sustainability increases.

The physical benefits of gardening cross all ages and most challenges: aerobic, isotonic and isometric exercise benefits the respiratory and cardiovascular systems as well our muscles and bones.  We also improve our strength, endurance and flexibility – perfect interventions for heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and osteoporosis!  And then, of course, eating the “fruits of our labors” adds a considerable variety of fruits and vegetables to our diets.

Additionally, community gardening fosters socialization and connectedness, necessary ingredients in addressing anxiety and depression.  Gardening provides a form of mindfulness and meditation as well as a means for self-expression, allowing us to develop confidence and a sense of achievement in being part of something from start to fruition.

If you and your community would like to consider developing a Community Garden, San Diego County is rich with available supports and resources.  San Diego Master Gardener Association provides start up guides, classes as well as hands on assistance in getting your garden started.

Victory Gardens San Diego also provides kits and volunteers to help you start and maintain your Community Garden.

Within the communities that SmartCare serves, Ramona has a thriving community garden, The LabyrinthCampo is in the planning stages for two Community Gardens – one at the Community Center and a larger one across from the Campo Library.  Please contact Mountain Empire Community Center for more information: (619) 478-2384.

We would love to hear about your Community Gardens and how they have benefited your communities!

3 Comments leave one →
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