The Rise of Community Gardening – Guest Post

With the highest rising obesity rates in the world, major health issues in the U.S. are beginning to take their toll on the population at large. In 2010, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) stated the worrying statistic that around 35.7% of adults are obese, as well as 17% of the populace’s children. These figures cast ugly aspersions on our ability to eat well, and can be seen as a comment on our lack of self-control and our attempts to eschew the temptations of the pervasive fast food world.

The Rise of Community Gardening

Thankfully, things are now changing.

The number of health-aware consumers is steadily climbing nationwide, and a newly conscious society is emerging. It’s important to understand the journey of any of the thousands of food products that end up on your plate. Being knowledgeable about the meals you consume means you can ask informed questions about any worries or concerns you may have. With the burgeoning power of online communication and the influential weight of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, members of the general public can now research and educate themselves about the food that they’re buying, preparing, and serving to their family and friends.

You may have noticed the striking increase in farmers markets, organic supermarkets and the special supplementary organic sections in key grocery stores. The organic production industry was reportedly worth $12.4 billion in America alone a mere two years ago, and has been on an unshakable upward trajectory ever since.

Over decades, farmers have been producing crops routinely sprayed with all kinds of fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and other chemical-altering mixtures and, in recent years, consumers have altered their attitudes towards GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). Mankind’s innovative technological advances in biochemistry and engineering have somewhat backfired, helping us journey down a dangerous path. Through the habitual manipulation of Mother Nature, fresh fruits and vegetables have become disturbingly less healthy. Combine this with the everlasting criticism over the ubiquitous fast food presence assailing our daily culture, and you can see why so many are looking for cleaner methods of quality food production.

Comparable to a food-based time-share opportunity, the worthwhile and gratifying concept of community organic gardening encourages a group of friends and/or neighbors to rent a piece of fallow land and, with the use of organic fertilizers, grow what they choose. Renting several plots of fertile soil will supply gardeners with the prospect of growing a whole host of delicious crops, including potatoes, tomatoes, apples, sweet corn and cabbages, herbs such as basil, oregano, parsley and thyme, and a multitude of vibrant, colorful flowers.

Shared public garden spaces are typically popular for those who live in apartments and don’t have their own backyard. Community gardening develops a palpable sense of community spirit, because it’s an enterprise that brings together those from varying cultural and economic backgrounds, and unites people of different race and age groups through the beautification of nature. Therefore, community gardening reaps enormous social rewards, as well as a feeling of neighborhood improvement and a much-needed connection to the environment.