Believe it or not, community gardens are not just for people who love to spend hours kneeling on the ground and digging in the dirt! Community gardens have many commonly known benefits such as providing nutrient rich fruits and vegetables and adding beautification to a formerly vacant space.
Working in a garden is a long held method to reducing stress; granted, gardening is not for everyone. However, it turns out that the working part is optional! Researchers at Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health found a correlation between their test subjects’ perceived health and the availability of green space near their living area. Results showed demonstrated a strong positive correlation between a person’s perceived health and their living proximity to green space. The positive effect on perceived health was constant for people up to a three-kilometer radius of green space.
Reduction of stress by way of proximity to green space is such a strong held philosophy that there is even a theory on it. The Psycho-physiological Stress Recovery Theory established that observing natural environments is good for a person’s health. In individuals who had reported feel stressed, observation of natural environments corresponded with reduced heart and blood pressure.
A common concern from citizens when we propose a garden in their community is that the increased amount of vegetation will prompt more crime. However, studies examining this ideology have found the contrary to be evident! Residents in Chicago reported to feeling safer when there was a higher density of trees near their living quarters. And rightfully so! An association was found between vegetation around a building and a lower frequency of property and violent crimes.
Would you love to live near a beautiful garden that provided a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables along with a space to relax? Yes? You aren’t the only one! Maybe it is the possibility of reduced stress, lower crime rates, or maybe it is the beauty that a garden provides for a neighborhood. Any way, there is ample evidence that proximity to a community garden leads to an increase in property values.
The Council on the Environment of New York City (CENYC) contains data from every community garden on record in NYC. That is a lot of gardens! Researchers from the journal Real Estate Economics utilized data from the CENYC and personal investigation to find how community gardens affected communities across the Bronx (notoriously the poorest neighborhood in NYC). The results of their inquiry showed that community gardens had a significant correlation with an increase in property values within 1,000 feet.
Therefore, appreciate your community garden for all that it is worth! Whither you reap the benefits of fresh foods, less stress, less crime, or higher property value, a community garden is the gift that keeps on giving.