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Community Gardens and Corporate Gardens

There are many different types of Community Gardens serving myriad purposes. There are school gardens, vocational gardens, and church gardens to name a few.  Community gardens help residents by providing physical activity and social interaction, which is a healthy way of reducing stress and releasing built up energy from being confined indoors. They provide an opportunity for people in the community to meet as a group to discuss uncertainties, losses, and other life events.  They are also instrumental in teaching volunteerism and building leaders. Starting a community garden requires lobbying decision makers and outreach to elected officials. So, be prepared to be persistent since it may require considerable effort to make the vision a reality.

Community Gardens, in America, have a long, storied history, going all the way back to the 1890’s when the first community gardens were started in Detroit, Michigan, by Mayor Hazen S. Pingree to combat unemployment and hunger, and were known as “Pingree’s Potato Patches.” https://cityfarmer.info/mayor-hazen-pingree-and-the-potato-patch-plan-of-the-1890s/. Fast forward to the First and Second World Wars where Community gardens were crucial to the war effort because they served several purposes. They were moral boosting gardens displaying patriotism on the part of the nation. Additionally, the produce from the community gardens was shipped out and used to feed the American soldiers fighting overseas, and America’s allies in Europe who were experiencing food shortages because of the war. America too was experiencing food shortages, so the food produced was also used domestically.

  America has experienced a time of peace since WW11 ended in 1945, and the focus of the community garden subsequently shifted to more social matters. There are Urban Revitalization gardens, which are credited with positively influencing how a neighbourhood is viewed by its residents, visitors, and politicians, and with connecting some residents with nature for the first time. School Gardens are community gardens, where youth are taught life skills, such as dignity in labor, love of nature, responsibility, and environmental responsibility. Additionally, Vocational Gardens teach participants about entrepreneurial and vocational skills, that is, they learn about money and receive job training through gardening. Finally, Church Gardens, also known as Charity Gardens or Food Pantry Gardens, are grown to provide food to residents or parishioners in need.

Since we spend a considerable part of our day at the office, Corporate Gardens are worth mentioning. They could be in the atriums of businesses, or on the grounds of said business. The next time you visit a business that has either an indoor or outdoor garden, think about how it makes you feel when you visit that building. Did the garden cause you to perceive the business in a more positive way? If it did so, then its purpose was achieved. With the indoor corporate garden, the employees also get to experience and benefit from the “nearby nature” (Kaplan, Rachel., 1992), and to get some contact with the outdoors. Another benefit is that employees breathe cleaner air since plants are known to improve the air in office buildings and to absorb harmful toxins from the air.

https://www.google.com/search?q=victory+gardens+world+war+1&rlz=1C1GCEA_enUS1019US1019&sxsrf=AB5stBgMCAzBk3O__YMiQ7slqKOMK7coAQ%3A1691521099442&ei=S5DSZJ7DGqOfptQPl

https://www.communitygarden.org/

https://fleetfarming.org/the-history-of-victory-gardening-and-why-we-should-bring-back-victory-gardens/

https://www.resourceumc.org/en/content/create-a-community-garden

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/small-communities-can-learn-from-detroit-mayor-potato-stingel-mpa/?trk=portfolio_article-card_title

https://kinder.rice.edu/urbanedge/urban-gardening-has-taken-root-and-its-time-cities-encourage-new-growth

https://communityofgardens.si.edu/exhibits/show/historycommunitygardens/environmentalaction

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