Community garden. Image by Steve Adams.

Portland for Community Gardening

Gardening can improve access to nutritious food, alleviate stress, and enhance community relationships. Portland for Community Gardening seeks to generate awareness of and excitement about gardening in our city.

 

The following work was completed in fall 2021 for LANDARCH587/REGIONPL587: People and the Environment, a course offered by the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning.

 

Let's improve our city's environment and our health!

Let’s face it: cities are not always conducive to healthy living. Pollution, noise, and the economic stresses of city life are troubling to every Portlander. 


But one activity shows remarkable promise in improving our city: community gardening.

By working together and with city representatives, we can add community gardens to Portland. Gardens provide nutritious food for our vulnerable, educational opportunities for our youth, and environmental benefits to us all.

 
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USDA National Agricultural Library

“Community gardens are plots of land, usually in urban areas, that are rented by individuals or groups for private gardens or are for the benefit of the people caring for the garden.”

 

Community gardening can...

Boost self-sufficiency.

Community gardens may be designed on public or private land, but are open to the public or a specific neighborhood. Through collaborative planning, residents can work with Portland representatives and the Planning Board to select the best spaces for gardens. After design and construction is completed, the garden will supply nutritious food for the surrounding community and serve as a safety net for our vulnerable populations, regardless of outside factors. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated food insecurity because of disruptions to production and distribution. In cases like this, community gardens could provide Portland with greater food self-sufficiency.

Improve our health.

Community gardens are proven to greatly improve community members’ health by encouraging healthy eating, providing space for exercise, and promoting mental well-being. When we’re surrounded by vegetables and fruits, we naturally start to reconsider our eating habits. And, as gardeners said during a survey in Toronto, gardening is “a form of exercise, relaxation . . . getting away . . . a way to produce something with your hands.” It’s a different kind of busy, a healthy kind of busy, that allows us to get back to our roots -- both figuratively and literally.

 
Community Garden
 

Educate our youth.

Our kids are spending more time on screens: using computers for homework, using phones for socializing, and using Xbox for fun. But what if there were programs dedicated to the development of practical and vocational skills? Kids of all ages benefit from gardening. Under proper community leadership, our community gardens could provide Portland youth with safe, nurturing environments for developing life skills, interacting with other children, and learning about environmental responsibility. 

Read about Cultivating Community's School Partnership Program, made possible with help from FoodCorps.


Reclaim our land - and make it better!

Vacant lots. We all see them. Some are maintained, others are eye sores. Luckily, community gardens, with proper attention and management, can transform vacant lots into beautiful spaces that neighbors will be thrilled about. Not to mention the incredible environmental benefits including carbon capture, rainwater absorption, and visual attraction!

 

Check out Cultivating Community's work.

In partnership with the City of Portland, Cultivating Community operates 11 community gardens in neighborhoods throughout the city. They use their gardens for youth education and personal plot gardening.

 

Get involved!

Excited to get involved with Portland for Community Gardening? Send us a message and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Let's plant the seeds of social and environmental change.

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