Community Gardens A Collective Sustainable Solution
Although fruitful in new experiences and interactions, the livelihood and robustness of city life have forced urban, rural, and suburban populations to constantly move farther and farther away from accessible and convenient food sources. To combat this issue, community gardens have proven to emphasize collectivism while aiding in cultivating its city's true beauty: its community. Since the 1890s, Americans have utilized gardens to address social issues like war, urban decline, economic recession, and environmental injustices.
Specifically, in the city of Los Angeles, there have been many struggles carving out community spaces and gardens for those in need. For example, South-Central Los Angeles allotted fourteen acres of property; it quickly became a source to over 347 families, thus making it the largest community garden in the United States! Unfortunately, after eleven years, the city had sold and displaced many of the community garden's farmers, leaving it a vacant lot absent of the countless residents and local families that grew nopales, cilantro, papayas, bananas, and many other crops and goods. Aside from this unfortunate tale, one can only hope to aid in their community's continuous growth and flourishment. Still, it also brings importance to why we should foster these spaces for ourselves and others within it. This ever-growing popularity of community gardens permits locals to gather and grow fresh vegetation and flowers, transforming empty lots into productive, green vegetable plots.
In addition, community gardens have many benefits, from promoting healthy lifestyles, revitalizing neighborhoods, building stronger communities, and working towards a cleaner environment. In producing fresh produce for these urban neighborhoods, a collective can rid communities of their food deserts, improve locals' health, and relieve hunger by donating excess produce to food pantries.
If you are reading and this has piqued your interest in visiting one within your community, here is a list of beautiful community gardens that continue to give fresh produce to residents and families: Spring Street Community Garden, Patton Street Community Garden, Solano Canyon Community Garden, Seed of Carver Community Garden, Mariposa-Nabi Community Garden, Pasadena Community Gardens, Belvedere Park Community Garden, Crenshaw Community Garden, Fountain Community Gardens, and Jardin del Rio Community Garden.
I highly encourage you to visit one of these community gardens to continue promoting and cultivating such resources and educate yourself and those around you. You can even be the start to the change you want to see by starting your community garden! It's just as simple as talking to your neighbors and speaking the interest of locals. Besides this, we must remind ourselves that community starts with you and me in all these pursuits!