by Alice Green
The article “Growing an Urban Oasis: A Qualitative Study of the Perceived Benefits of Community Gardening in Baltimore, Maryland” discusses the benefits of community gardens in the city. Recently it has become a popular way to encourage local production of food to improve the health and access to healthy foods in an urban setting. This article focuses on how community gardens brings the food closer to the consumers, contributes to the economy, and improves the environment. This article aims to figure out the motivation behind gardening and how to reach out to the community to spread awareness.
A concept discussed in this paper is the psychological benefits of gardening. Psychology is the study of the mind, so it discusses ways that gardening can improve mental health. For example, it creates a sense of pride and even connection to nature. This can boost happiness in the people involved in the gardens.
Study Methods and Designs
Interviews were conducted in 2011 to find out local gardeners’ points of view about community gardens. The purpose was to see firsthand the experiences of local gardeners in Baltimore. Johns Hopkins University recruited garden managers throughout Baltimore, representing a wide range of ages and experiences. Overall 17 interviews were conducted individually, and each lasted about an hour. Two focus group interviews were held as well. Data was recorded by an audiotape recording.
Overall, the gardeners discussed many benefits from community gardens, with few drawbacks. They mentioned that gardens in the city create a sanctuary that benefits individuals and the community. A few of the positive aspects of gardening include: enhancing health, improving mental health, building a community, breaking social barriers, building social bonds, cleaning up vacant lots, and changing the food environment. Gardens create a safe place for people to go, and provide nutritious food at little to no cost. Putting gardens in an urban setting can give those who do not have access to fresh food the opportunity to build their own. The gardeners interviewed were able to discuss many ways that gardens benefit the community.
Take Home Message
The main message this article touches on is how gardens improve the community and its health. Other articles also support this claim. An article titled “Amplifying Health Through Community Gardens: A Framework for Advancing Multicomponent, Behaviorally Based Neighborhood Interventions” discusses how gardens can enhance social, physical, and mental health. Another article called “Urban Gardens Grow Healthy Communities” also agrees with the first two articles about the benefits of community gardens, especially in an urban setting. Overall, gardens have the potential to create a positive change in the community as shown by these articles.
Alaimo K, Beavers AW, Crawford C, Snyder EH, Litt JS. 2016. Amplifying Health Through Community Gardens: A Framework for Advancing Multicomponent, Behaviorally Based Neighborhood
Interventions. Curr Environ Health Rep 3(3):302-12.
Lewellen D. 2016. Urban Gardens Grow Healthy Communities. Health Prog 97(3):30-4.
Poulsen M, Hulland K, Gulas C, Pham H, Dalglish S, Wilkinson R, Winch P. 2014. Growing and Urban Oasis: A qualitative Study of the Perceived Benefits of Community Gardening in Baltimore, Maryland. The Journal of Culture and Agriculture 36(2):69-82.