How Effective are Community Gardens in [2023]?


If you have ever walked through a community garden, you can't help but notice the sense of pride, sense of community, and connection to nature that they offer. But, do they have any real benefits? Are community gardens worth it? Our team of expert gardeners at Community Gardening™ is here to answer that question and more.

The Benefits of Community Gardens

Environmental Benefits

Community gardens provide a wealth of environmental benefits that are essential for a healthy planet, such as:

  • Improving soil quality – Community gardens can help restore soil health by creating a diverse ecosystem that enhances the soil's fertility and minimizes erosion.
  • Reducing carbon emissions – The process of growing and distributing food generates a large amount of greenhouse gases. Community gardens, on the other hand, encourage the production of food locally, which reduces the need for transportation and reduces carbon emissions.
  • Supporting biodiversity – By creating a diverse landscape that includes a variety of plants, flowers, and even small animals, community gardens support biodiversity and protect against habitat degradation.

Health Benefits

The health benefits of community gardens go beyond just physical health. Studies have shown that community gardens also have a positive impact on mental health, such as:

  • Reducing stress and anxiety – Spending time in nature, even if it's a small community garden, has been proven to reduce stress hormones and promote relaxation.
  • Enhancing social well-being – Community gardens encourage social interaction and provide a sense of belonging to a community.
  • Promoting physical activity – Gardening is a physical activity that promotes good health and helps prevent chronic diseases like obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Economic Benefits

Community gardens also provide economic benefits that can promote local economy, such as:

  • Lowering food costs – Community gardens provide fresh, healthy produce at a lower cost than store-bought produce, making good nutrition more accessible.
  • Creating job opportunities – Community gardens create jobs that pay a living wage and can help reduce unemployment in some communities.
  • Increased property values – Community gardens enhance the beauty of neighborhoods, making them more desirable places to live, thereby, increasing property values.

The Buzz About Bumble Bees Isn't Good

One important aspect of community gardening is pollination, which is necessary for plant reproduction. Unfortunately, the populations of bees and other pollinators may be declining. This is a serious problem since they also pollinate food crops worldwide.

So, How Can We Help?

Community gardens play a critical role in protecting pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, by providing them with a safe habitat. Here are some tips from our team at Community Gardening™ to aid bees and other pollinators:

  • Plant flowers – Include a wide variety of native flowers in your garden, that bloom at different times of the year, providing pollinators food throughout the season.
  • Provide nesting habitat – To help pollinating insects build their homes, leave undisturbed, bare ground or woodpiles around the garden.
  • Avoid pesticides – Avoid using pesticides, particularly those that are toxic to bees and other pollinators.

The Pros and Cons of Community Gardens

As always, there are both pros and cons to consider before starting a community garden.


  • Encourage community involvement – Community gardens can bring different groups of people together and create a stronger sense of unity and purpose.
  • Promote healthy eating habits – Community gardens encourage people to eat healthier, locally grown foods that promote good nutrition.
  • Improve the environment – Community gardens help improve the ecosystem by providing a diverse, green space that increases biodiversity and reduces carbon emissions.


  • Demand time and effort – Community gardens require a lot of time, effort, and resources, which some people might not be able to commit to.
  • May face opposition – In some communities, there might be opposition or conflicts that can arise.
  • May not be used efficiently – Some community gardens may not be planted and maintained adequately.

Do Community Gardens Reduce Crime?

One of the claims around community gardens is that they can reduce crime rates in a neighborhood; let's take a closer look.

Several studies have found that community gardens can indeed lead to a reduction in crime rates, such as:

  • One study by Rutgers University found an overall 20% decrease in crime in areas that had started community gardens.
  • Another study by the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development found that more maintained and active community gardens were associated with fewer incidents of crime.

These studies suggest that community gardens serve as a public space for residents to invest their time and effort into, which reduces the chances of crime.

What Are the Challenges of Starting a Community Garden?

Urban Gardening – Raising tomatoes for self support

Starting a community garden can be a challenging, but fulfilling, endeavor. Here are some things to consider when starting a community garden.

Land Acquisition

Finding a suitable place for a garden can be a challenge. Consider partnering with a city, school, or church that has a large unused yard space.


Community gardens require funds for rent, seeds, compost, tools, and other necessary materials. Consider grant opportunities and crowdfunding as options.


Deciding who is responsible for the garden, how decisions are made, and how conflicts are resolved can be challenging.


Maintaining the garden requires significant effort and time, and it often depends on the dedication of volunteers.

Quick Tips and Facts

  • Tomato plants require about 8 hours of sunlight per day to grow healthily.
  • Water your plants deeply at least once a week, and more frequently during hot weather.
  • Add some compost or organic matter to your soil at least once a year to enrich it.
  • Community gardening is on the rise; the number of community gardens in the United States increased by 200% between 2008 and 2018.

Our Recommendation

Community gardens are a fantastic way to promote environmental sustainability, build a sense of community, and promote healthy habits. Although challenges may arise, the benefits outweigh the cons. Therefore, our team at Community Gardening™ recommends trying out community gardening today.


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