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Purposes of Gardens

Community Gardens ("CG")I think, have a multi-faceted meaning and
purpose; a diffent one for each person.  I think people often take what
they need from the experience. Here's a few. I'm missing the artistic,
religious, & other experiences (others on this list are better qualified
to discuss than this non-artistic, lapsed catholic.)

In an urban planning/sustanable living. CG's are the embodiment of
providing a deep need -- nature (even if it is modified) AND a sense of
Community. In addition Gardens also meet a many, many needs & and nuture
our desires.  
Community - People innately desire and need human contact (hey, the
latest scientic studies say regular friends or pet contact reduces
stress).  Cg's provide a venue for that experience to occur. They're
also a venue for mentoring youth & providing a sense of purpose to
seniors. (we had one older gentleman who took such PRIDE in watering the
garden every single day.) Friendships formed in gardens also help
provide a safety net for neighbors in need.
Recreation- Hey, gardening is America's fastest growing recreational
activity. It's enjoyable to be outside watering or reading under a tree
on a hot day. 
Exercise - needed for a healthy population.  Diabetes, heart disease,
cancer, strokes, are all mitigated by regular exercise
Eating Better - Studies have shown that children who garden have more
varied (& healthier eating habits) that those non-gardeners.  Adults
will have more fresh produce available to eat, so it follows better
Air Quality-cg also provide oxygen, reduction of particulates (from
diesels), increased air quality (better health) More gardens=Less
Education - Children learn better w/ hands on experience.  Ecology,
biology, mathematics, science, evolution, procreation, etc. all in a
garden.  Adults:C.G provide acclerated knowledge acquistion about
gardening.  What better way to learn than from the master gardener
showing & telling you?
Volunteerism - giving away extra produce, providing a defacto park/
green space
Safer streets- cg's foster community cohesion, often the transition from
a vacant lot

My "hot buttons" are ecology, community, and a sense of true wonder &
belief in much more than "man" when I watch the plants bloom or the
seasons move. I enjoy just being, esp. when I'm alone, doing the jobs
nobody wants to do.   

community_garden maillist  -  community_garden@mallorn.com

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