COMMUNITY GARDENING: can you dig it?

Spring has finally sprung! Time to play outside again.

Sure, biking, hiking, and picnicking are fun, but why not try something new this year by starting or joining a community garden?

There are many good reasons to get your hands dirty with like-minded people. Not only do you make new friends, improve the environment, and contribute to your community, but you learn skills in and out of the garden that are sure to pay off – in spades.

Make New Friends

Stepping into a community garden with people who share a commitment to something greater than themselves creates an instant bond. Start building and planting and you get to know your neighbors while gaining skills and knowledge from people of all ages and backgrounds. Add in the satisfaction you get from breathing life into what was once a lifeless patch of land and it’s a win-win. And if you’re looking for more than friendship, you might even meet a nice guy with the same interests as you; one with a social conscience and the ability to grow his own food would be ideal!

Green is Good

Community gardens improve the environment in countless ways. Plants give off oxygen, which helps reduce air pollution and carbon dioxide, and soil absorbs rainwater, which helps prevent polluted runoff into rivers and lakes. Plus, food generated locally means less fuel-burning trucks on the road transporting food from other places. Community gardens also increase the biodiversity of nearby plants and animals – and any unused plant waste gets composted and recycled into the best kind of fertilizer for nourishing future gardens.

Rooting for Your Community

According to New York Times gardening columnist Anne Raver, “scholars see gardens as the first sign of commitment to a community.”

Gardens beautify any space, but the aspect of growing food adds in an element of caretaking, of helping others thrive. For example, people in disadvantaged urban areas who rely on processed foods suffer from higher rates of disease. By providing access to fresh food, community gardens help improve the diets of people nearby and, in turn, boost their local economy, since better health translates to reduced medical costs and lost wages due to illness.

Electrify Your Health

While fresh, organic food tastes better and is better for you, gardening also offers huge hidden health benefits. Emerging research has shown that direct contact with the earth has a powerful healing effect.

 “Electrically conductive contact of the human body with the surface of the Earth (grounding or earthing) produces intriguing effects on physiology and health. Such effects relate to inflammation, immune responses, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases,” reveals an abstract on the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) website.

So, the more you touch the earth, the more the earth heals you. No doubt the combination of socializing and “earthing” in a garden is sure to spark a super-charged natural high!

So go ahead. Get down and dirty in a local community garden. To find one near you or learn how to start one, click here .

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