Excerpts from Hamilton Community Garden network
You may ask what does gardening really do? I could probably buy a bushel of tomatoes cheaper than the cost of soil, plants, fertilizer and compost. That reminds me of a joke I once heard. “Growing your own tomatoes is the best way to devote 3 months of your life to saving $2.17” While that may be somewhat true, gardens serve many purposes.
They Build Community. People develop and leverage relationships out of gardens leading to other projects and partnerships such as donating to food agencies and starting community organizations. People get jobs or employment out of participating in the gardens through the fact that 5 local farms are run by past community garden coordinators. People from all backgrounds can get engaged and share their skills and traditions in a safe gathering place
They Promote Wellness. People learn new skills while gaining new access to spaces to grow food. They get active and are shown to eat more fresh produce when they grow it themselves. Community gardens increase access to fresh produce while allowing individuals to exercise and build social relationships.
Gardens Enhance Environment by using community assets to create green spaces where water and waste are managed creatively and sustainably while food is grown. Gardens can be a gathering place for events and community gardens help the ecosystem to properly function and support biodiversity.
If you think you need acres of space to grow vegetables, you might find you are mistaken. In my case, I plant 4 tomato plants, two cucumber plants, a pepper plant and chives in my backyard flower beds. Three beds about six feet long and two feet wide. I have so much produce from those plants that they supplied me all summer with fresh tomatoes for sandwiches, cucumbers for salad and chives and peppers to add to my other dishes. Plus I gave away tons to local groups, neighbours and friends.