Benefits of a Community Garden

Below are the findings of a sociological review conducted by a student research group from the University of Mary Washington. The benefits of community gardens can be improved physical and mental health, more neighborhood cohesion, along with greater food security and childhood nutrition. Community gardens also contribute to neighborhoods by providing green space and increased access to nature.

Physical Health 

  • Gardening contributes to the CDC recommendation of 30 minutes of physical activity a day.1
  • Participating in regular physical activity can reduce and prevent chronic illnesses.

Mental Health

  • Gardening can lead to a higher quality of life and lead to a sense of autonomy.
  • It can also decrease stress over time and lead to a feeling of satisfaction.

Neighborhood Cohesion 

  • Participation in the garden can grow a sense of community, empowerment, achievement, satisfaction2, while also increasing levels of wellbeing and decreasing levels of stress.3
  • Socialization through a community garden can create feelings of confidence, autonomy, problem-solving, and purpose in life.4
  • Gardens can help community members connect with cultural roots.5

Food Security 

  • Gardens can help communities by improving household food security through free or reduced price produce or donation of surplus produce.6
  • Produce from community gardens can help achieve and maintain a healthy diet.7

Children’s Wellbeing 

  • Children with long term access to fresh fruits and veggies can maintain a healthy body weight.8
  • Educational programs teach children the source of food and how it grows, these programs promote children to seek out fresh fruit and vegetables.9

 Benefits of Green Space

  • Green space like community gardens can help create an appreciation of nature and beautifies communities.
  • Depression and anxieties symptoms can be reduced through spending time in green spaces.10
  • Gardening activities and exposure to green spaces can reduce stress.11

1Park, S., Shoemaker, C., and Haub, M. (2008). Can Older Gardeners Meet the Physical Activity Recommendation through Gardening?. HortTechnology hortte 18, 4, 639-643, available from: <> [Accessed 24 May 2022]

2Michelle L. D’Abundo & Andrea M. Carden (2008) “Growing Wellness”: The Possibility of Promoting Collective Wellness through Community Garden Education Programs, Community Development, 39:4, 83-94, DOI: 10.1080/15575330809489660

3Booth, J. M. et al. (2018) ‘Examining the Relationship Between Level of Participation in Community Gardens and their Multiple Functions’, Journal of Community Practice, 26(1), pp. 5–22. doi: 10.1080/10705422.2017.1413024

4Triguero-Mas, M., Anguelovski, I., Cirac-Claveras, J., Connolly, J., Vazquez, A., Urgell-Plaza, F., Cardona-Giralt, N., Sanyé-Mengual, E., Alonso, J., & Cole, H. (2020). Quality of Life Benefits of Urban Rooftop Gardening for People With Intellectual Disabilities or Mental Health Disorders. Preventing chronic disease, 17, E126.

5Gerber, Monica M., et al. “Nepali Bhutanese Refugees Reap Support Through Community Gardening.” International Perspectives in Psychology : Research, Practice, Consultation, vol. 6, no. 1, Educational Publishing Foundation, 2017, pp. 17–31, doi:10.1037/ipp0000061.

6Corrigan, Michelle. (2011). Growing What You Eat: Developing Community Gardens in Baltimore, Maryland. Applied Geography. 31. 1232-1241. 10.1016/j.apgeog.2011.01.017

7Burt, K. G. et al. (2021) A systematic, mixed studies review of the outcomes of community garden participation related to food justice. Local environment. [Online] 26 (1), 17–42.

8Castro, D.C., Samuels, M. and Harman, A.E., 2013. Growing healthy kids: A community garden–based obesity prevention program. American journal of preventive medicine, 44(3), pp.S193-S199.

9Grier, K., Hill, J. L., Reese, F., Covington, C., Bennette, F., MacAuley, L. and Zoellner, J. (2015) 

10Truong, S. et al. (2022) Enhancing urban nature and place-making in social housing through community gardening. Urban forestry & urban greening. [Online] 72.

11Lampert T, Costa J, Santos O, Sousa J, Ribeiro T, et al. (2021) Evidence on the contribution of community gardens to promote physical and mental health and well-being of non-institutionalized individuals: A systematic review. PLOS ONE 16(8): e0255621.