Community Garden Sites Available on Long Island This Spring
April 20, 2012
(Long Island, N.Y.) Community garden plots at 832 Merrick Avenue in East Meadow will be available this season to residents of Nassau County. The project is sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County. Each bed measures 5’ by 20’, and cost for the season is $75. Applications for garden space will be available online on 4/23/2012 at http://blogs.cce.cornell.edu/nassau/. Applications and payment are due on 5/4/2012 . A lottery will be held on 5/7/2012 to assign the garden beds.
Community gardens provide a number of benefits to the community. On the practical side, growing healthy fresh vegetables can result in substantial savings on grocery expenses. Gardening is an excellent source of exercise, and the community aspect provides social contact as well as a sense of community.
Besides the community garden, the Cornell Cooperative Extension also offers gardening resources, garden-based youth learning programs, and the Master Gardener Volunteer Program.
The gardening resource website at http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/ includes family activities, how-tos, and resources for gardening-based learning programs. How-tos include lawn, garden, landscape, and problem-solving topics. Best plant varieties, common pest problems, and basic gardening information is also available.
Community gardening is especially popular in the eastern U.S., as well as the west coast, and midwestern urban areas.
The community garden movement began with the “back to the earth” efforts of the early 1970s. In the early years of the community gardeing movement, community gardens were federally funded. With federal funds for community gardening no longer as readily available, many programs are facing funding challenges.
The community garden movement goes hand in hand with efforts to encourage more local food production. Other community efforts may include food preservation classes and workshops, and distribution of surplus through local food banks and soup kitchens.
According to the American Community Gardening Association (ACGA) community gardens are also a source of political empowerment. Comparisons have been made between the community garden and the traditional “town green”.
Community gardens provide a healthy mix of practical and social benefits. Besides plants and fresh produce, neighborhood improvement occurs with a sense of connecting with the environment. Green areas are known to help alleviate the effects of global warming. And who doesn’t love (almost) free food?