There has been extensive research conducted to explore how gardens, as neighborhood places, support healthy living.
Poor nutrition and obesity are both challenges to low-income neighborhoods. Low accessibility to nutritious foods can cause health problems to residents located in food deserts.
The introduction of community gardens may be able to reduce the impact of food deserts in low-income areas and allow residents greater access to nutritious food that is necessary to live a healthy life.
Extensive research confirms that Community Gardens:
- Increase access to fresh foods
- Improve food security/reduce “food miles” that are required to transport nutritious food
- Increase physical activity through garden maintenance activities
- Improve dietary habits through education
- Increase fruit and vegetable intake
- Reduce risk of obesity and obesity-related diseases
- Improve mental health and promote relaxation
From an environmental perspective, Community Gardens:
- Help improve air and soil quality
- Increase biodiversity of plants and animals
- Can replace impervious structures and improve water infiltration
- Can reduce neighborhood waste through composting
- Positively impact the urban micro-climate
Overall, community gardens allow for the creation of social ties and build a greater feeling of community. These connections help reduce crime, empower residents and allow residents to feel safe in their neighborhoods.