Community gardening provides shared spaces for residents of neighborhoods or members of institutions (schools, public housing) to grow food on allotted plots for their individual and family consumption, as well as for contributions to food banks. Gardens are generally sites for various forms of community engagement, such as volunteering (construction, maintenance, growing), public and private functions (holiday celebrations, birthdays and weddings), public art and design, sustainable gardening and building practices, growing and sharing native plants among immigrant communities, environmental and food education, including food and racial justice. They also provide spaces for personal reflection and restoration.
The American Community Gardening Association, with more than 250 organizational members, links practitioners across the field.
Community gardening in the U.S. goes back to the depression of the 1890s, and then again in the 1930s, as well as to school gardens, WWI gardens, and WWII victory gardens. Women’s clubs and garden clubs provided leadership in many cities. Community activism in the 1960s and 1970s helped to spur the current community gardening movement, with persistent themes of community empowerment, community development, racial and ethnic heritage, and open space.
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