Earth Day is a wonderful time to get reacquainted with the outdoors after the cold winter. What better way to celebrate the earth than to cultivate healthy food in a garden? 

Gardening is a popular activity, but not everybody has the ability to create a garden at their home. Community gardens allow more people to get involved in gardening wherever they live. With an estimated 18,000 community gardens across the country, access to these gardens continues to grow.

Whether gardening is a new hobby or it has been part of your family life for generations, it can provide myriad benefits. Read on to find out why and how you should get involved in a community garden near you. 

Address Food Insecurity

Food insecurity affects individuals and families across Utah, though the struggle can often be unseen. People who struggle with food insecurity do not have enough resources to ensure every member of the household gets enough healthy food. In Utah, nearly 15 percent of households with children struggle with food insecurity, with seniors, single-parent households, and people of color being disproportionately affected. 

Community gardens are a tool that can help address food insecurity by providing a space for families in need to grow their own food. One study found that community gardeners in San Jose, California, harvested .75 pounds of fruits and vegetables per square foot, an amount that would have cost an additional $435 from the store. 

Provide More Healthy Food

Not only can community gardens provide food at a lower cost, but they also give people better access to healthy food. Not every family has access to space at their home to grow fruits and vegetables. Gardening can take up a lot of land that is hard to come by in apartments and homes with small yards. 

Having access to ground in a community garden can give people the ability to grow and eat a wider variety of healthy food. According to one survey, people who had access to a community garden ate fruits and vegetables 1.4 times more in a day than people who did not, and they were 3.5 times more likely to eat produce five times a day,

Volunteer in the Community

Community gardens are a great place for people to volunteer in their community. Taking care of a garden involves some upkeep, and community volunteers can provide vital assistance with garden maintenance. Volunteers can help with a variety of tasks, including building grow boxes, taking care of irrigation lines, composting, and even teaching classes.

Renting a Garden Plot

There are four community garden locations to choose from in Provo, as well as a brand new location opening in Spanish Fork this year. Plots cost $20 for the full season, and prospective gardeners must agree to follow garden rules and weed, water, and maintain their plot. 

This year, an additional community garden will be opening at 789 W. Center Street in Spanish Fork. Come visit the grand opening on Earth Day, April 22, 2023, and enjoy gardening classes, face painting, family activities, food trucks, and more. As new locations become available, more families will have access to a nearby garden. If you have land you would like to donate for community garden space, contact Community Action Services and Food Bank.

Community gardens continue to benefit families each year through access to healthy, lower-cost food. Celebrate Earth Day this year and all season long by renting or volunteering in a community garden near you.