Community Gardens : A Common And Sought After By Many Residents And City Officials

Community Gardens : A Common And Sought After By Many Residents And City Officials

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Community gardens are becoming more common and sought after by both residents and city officials because they provide a variety of functions within a community that society values. These gardens are often promoted as having economic advantages, providing health benefits, offering educational opportunities, and reducing food deserts. In particular, community supported agriculture theoretically could address inequalities about food security by increasing accessibility to fresh produce. However, whether community gardens actually promote food equity in the same way or if diverse socioeconomic areas share similar perceptions of these gardens is uncertain. The proposed research question is asking if community values are actually similar throughout different socioeconomic classes, with the food security concerns being sufficiently addressed.
To address the question asked, we surveyed different community gardens in the metropolitan area of Denver, Colorado. We first performed a general literature review in order to gain an understanding of current community agriculture ideologies. We then conducted interviews with representatives from the gardens and gave out surveys to community garden members for comparison and analysis. Correspondingly, we used census data to describe the socioeconomic status of each garden area and provide data for potential correlations.
The literature revealed that many articles and resources advocate community supported agriculture as a way to enhance individual and community development. Harvest gatherings, field days, and children 's activities are usually incorporated into the food system, while a sense of social connection and embeddedness is often seen. Nevertheless, this study challenges the notion th...


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...e of produce, the gardens are not free (in terms of money, time, and effort) and they only provide support to a very small number of community members. The growing season in this study region occurs from the spring through autumn, with the majority of gardens closing down for the winter. Food security is not ensured if individuals do not have access to the food for at least a quarter of the year unless individuals take steps such as canning and freezing in preparation.
In conclusion, the perceived community garden values are, on average, similar across different socioeconomic classes, but may not adequately address food deserts. Although future research could take a deeper look into how individuals value community gardens, the research presented here should provide enough insight to motivate planners and other stakeholders to recognize the value of such gardens.

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