Here in Dayton Ohio, we’re lucky. We have no fewer than 90 community gardens in the Dayton area, providing Dayton residents with nutritious, homegrown food and a way to meet friendly neighbors.
According to Five Rivers Metroparks, “[Community gardening] is a great way to grow your own food – and new friendships. [It] has helped people transform vacant lots into productive community gardens since 1986. The gardens provide many benefits: reduced crime rates, improved mental and physical health, and a greater sense of community.”
In short, the Miami Valley is a healthier, happier place, thanks to our community gardens.
In this article, we’ll dive into these benefits of a community garden – because gardening is a powerful way to improve health and bring people together.
The Benefits of Dayton’s Community Gardens
Decades of research show us that community gardens boost the health and wellbeing of a community. Here’s how.
Community Gardening makes healthy food more available for low-income families.
The produce section can be the most expensive part of a grocery trip. If you want to stack up on healthy fruits and vegetables for your growing family, you’re going to have to pay a premium, unfortunately. Junk food is cheaper.
Community gardens ensure that everyone in a community has access to healthy, nutritious foods by teaching families how to grow their own cucumbers, zucchini, squash, watermelon, and more. It improves the nutrient profile of a family’s diet, and helps children and parents alike get all the nutrients they need to stay healthy.
Can reduce neighborhood waste through composting
If you’re throwing away table scraps, your next-door neighbors probably are, too. Community gardens encourage neighborhoods to save their table scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds, and other organic waste products to contribute to rich fertiziler for the soil. Imagine the amount of waste we can keep out of landfills if every city had community gardens!
Improves mental health and promotes relaxation
Stress is high in modern city life, and more and more people are expressing a need for more self-care and relaxation. According to CNN, “A recent study in the Netherlands suggests that gardening can fight stress even better than other relaxing leisure activities.” Gillian Aldrich tells CNN, “When you sit at a desk all day, there’s something about literally putting your hands in the dirt, digging and actually creating something that’s really beautiful. There’s something about being out there that feels kind of elemental.”
Furthermore, a study out of Norway reports that people with Bipolar II disorder who spent three months gardening experienced “a measurable improvement in their depression symptoms.” Gardening is a medicine that every neighborhood could use more of.
Reduces crime rates
According to a study conducted by Texas State University, community gardens seemed to be “influential in their communities”, with “cessation of illegal activity such as dumping or drug activity, increased neighborhood redevelopment, and increased immunity from crime.
Improves property values
The Arbor Day Foundation reports that community gardens result in a “statistically significant increasing over time, positive effect on sales prices of residential properties within a 1,000 foot radius of a community garden.”
Community gardens are a great way to fill vacant lots, and to add a little life to the area. This all leads to better house prices, and an invigoration of the neighborhood.
Growing a Healthy Miami Valley and Beyond Through Gardening
Here at Stockslagers, we’re serious about helping our local Dayton community. We believe that healthy gardens can provide renewal to Dayton, Cincinnati, and the Miami Valley. Stop on by to start your garden plot today, and encourage your neighbors to join the gardening revolution!