Friday, May 27, 2011

Community Gardens

In many communities, vacant, underused land in urban areas has been transformed into community gardens. The community garden movement in Forsyth County traces its origin to 1992 and since then there has been a steady growth in the number of gardens. There are approximately 40+ existing community gardens, most of them in Winston-Salem. A recent surge in interest in community gardening has resulted in the establishment of a resource program by the Forsyth County Cooperative Extension to grow the community garden movement by providing resources to new and already established gardens.
The 2010 study, Community Gardens and Farmers Markets, Forsyth County defined community gardens as gardens where a group of residents worked gardens for the benefit of the community. The study identified challenges faced by the existing gardens and farmers markets where fresh produce is sold. Included in the study’s recommendations are:
  • Providing infrastructure to widen gardening and market programs
  • Focusing efforts on establishing and mentoring gardens in low-income and minority areas
  • Promoting programs that place local produce in neighborhood stores in low-income areas
  • Studying approaches used in other communities to support gardens and markets
  • Facilitating the use of City- or County-owned land for community gardens and farmers markets
  • Increasing the amount of foods produced by gardens
  • Encouraging school gardens
  • Evaluating the impact of community gardens and farmers markets on the local food environment

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