How Do Our Gardens Grow?

Peterborough has highest number of community gardens per capita in country

Peterborough is all thumbs… green thumbs that is.

When it comes to rolling up their sleeves and planting to grow their own food, community members certainly dig gardening.

And it’s happening full-bloom in the company of neighbours, as citizens are nurturing relationships along with the fruits and vegetables they tend to in various shared spaces throughout the community.

Peterborough has the highest number of community gardens per capita in the country.

There are 47 community gardens in Peterborough county and city and interest in the activity continues to grow each year. The community garden movement is thriving.

“Eating healthy, fresh food is great but getting outside, exercising and getting more fresh air — people identify that’s good for them both physically and mentally.”

Nourish just finished a series of education sessions about growing fruits and vegetables. The series targeted elevating the interest in growing food and providing citizens with the impetus and skills to garden.

There are health benefits of community gardening for individuals and the overall neighbourhood alike, Jill Bishop, community food cultivator with Nourish, recently told Electric City Magazine.

“Eating healthy, fresh food is great but getting outside, exercising and getting more fresh air — people identify that’s good for them both physically and mentally,” Jill says.

Community gardens bring people together and help ease isolation and promote emotional well-being, she adds.

Gardeners have identified other reasons why they enjoy being involved in community gardens such as getting to know their neighbours and changing their community for the better.

By increasing the number of local community gardeners and available garden space, families and individuals are able to grow fresh, healthy produce for very little money, green previously under-used areas and work together to enhance the communities in which they live.

Meanwhile, with a growing interest in the origin of the food that winds up on family dinner tables, community gardens remove that element of mystery.

Naturally, they also provide a source of nourishment that’s cost-effective. “A lot of people have trouble affording fresh and healthy food so this can help them supplement their budget in that sense,” Jill notes.

Several of the gardens also have donation plots that contribute fresh foods to community organizations and food banks.

Many of Peterborough’s community gardens are located on public property. A few years ago, Nourish worked with 10 daycares to add gardens at their locations for use in their programs.

The city’s community gardens have more than 500 plots and about 1,000 gardeners who utilize them. The average plot is 10 feet x 10 feet. Costs vary from $5 to $25 for the season.

For information about the location of Peterborough’s community gardens and for answers to other frequently-asked questions about local community gardens, click here.

Photo courtesy of the Nourish Project Facebook page.

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