Did someone say orgy? I thought that might get your attention. True, gardening might not be seen as the sexiest activity in the world (although, frankly, it should be).
But taking part in a gardening orgy – or a “community garden”, to put it politely – is becoming one of the most popular past-times among the young and beautiful. From hippies to hipsters, Mother Earth types to burned-out bankers… they’re all finding solace in a bit of green. (Not that kind. Well, maybe that kind, too).
For those of you who don’t know, a community garden is a shared plot of land on which people gather together to grow fresh vegetables and flowers.
Community gardens make use of those debris-filled vacant plots that pepper many a city – turning them into safe spaces that residents can share together. They turn ugly, unused lots into something beautiful. Sort of like Extreme Makeover, but with less Botox and fewer tantrums.
Well, anything that replaces syringes with sunflowers is a good idea, in my opinion! But transforming disused, dirty spaces into happier hangout spots is just the beginning.
Here are 5 badass benefits of the humble community garden.
Even if you’re a long-term city dweller, without a square of outdoor space or even a teeny balcony for a container garden, you too can become a gardener. You can emerge out of your box (sorry, “loft”) on a weekend to enjoy all the pleasures of gardening. Hooray!
From high-flying business types going cross-eyed after 50 hours of staring at a screen all week to factory workers in need of some decent fresh air to mums in need of a break from the kids, community gardens are for everyone.
They transcend age, race, class and income bracket. They’re a part of the sharing economy – meaning that lots of people can enjoy a single resource that they perhaps couldn’t afford or attain on their own. Much like we can all enjoy a good “cat fails” video.
Keep your pink Himalayan sea salt and your cold-pressed extra virgin coconut oil.
Finally, something organic that doesn’t come with a crazy price tag! Because even though the word has become associated with the pretentiousness of LuluLemon activewear, the concept behind it is sound.
Organic means not being sprayed with a thousand chemicals to make it look pretty. It’s what we probably used to eat back in the day, without even realising it. And it’s what we spend a fortune on nowadays, with health stores and specialist grocers reaping in the benefits.
But what about those who can’t afford to spend 3 bucks on a single apple? Well, community gardens offer fresh, nutritious (and organic) produce for families who couldn’t otherwise afford it. This improves their diet, boosts their overall health – and cuts down on instant noodle/frozen meal consumption, big time!
In fact, proper studies show that community gardens have all kinds of benefits for a neighbourhood’s nutritional and social environment. Nice one, Science.
Oh, and a lot of community gardens donate any excess produce to homeless shelters or food pantries, too. So there’s nothing wasted, only gained. Yay!
As well as eating organically, community gardeners benefit from fresh air, light exercise and a good ol’ dose of Vitamin D. They also get to enjoy all the mental benefits of gardening, such as lowered stress levels and even depression, as they enjoy a quiet retreat – away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city, even if only for a few hours.
This is a major advantage because stress and anxiety can lead to all kinds of physical ailments, too – so it’s a good idea to nip them in the bud when you can!
The whole idea behind community gardens is that they foster a sense of community. (Well, duh!)
In a world where we’re often isolated in our little apartment blocks, or blocked off by staring at our phones, community gardens encourage us to look up, and open up. Meeting with people from all walks of life and, no matter how different our backgrounds, being able to share this common goal.
We can connect with our neighbours. Share stories from our lives and develop meaningful relationships. (Or, if that feels like too much, simply swap a few pleasantries about the weather.)
The sense of ownership and the community spirit that develops from a shared garden space can also lead to bigger things – like composting or recycling initiatives, continuous education opportunities and so on. It can even lower crime levels in the surrounding area, with residents on an active “neighbourhood watch” from their outdoors position.
See ya later, Stringer Bell, say hello string beans!
The great thing about community gardens is just how wide their bubble can spread. Because it’s not just the gardeners themselves that benefit.
Like I mentioned, those vacant lots that can look so ugly in cities suddenly become a thing of beauty.
The freshly grown veggies are often sold locally, keeping money in the immediate economy.
Overall, they encourage residents to clean up neighbourhoods and take pride in their surroundings.
Community gardens can even raise property values in the neighbourhood. So, the entire area benefits… unless, of course, gentrification goes too far and suddenly it costs $12 for a coffee. But in general, community garden orgies can only reap great rewards.
They result in healthier, happier and more connected people. Beautiful green spaces that activity help the environment. Less stress, less crime and less isolation.
Sounds like a good enough reason to join your local orgy, right?! Go for it.