Growing Green: Five Economic Benefits From Community Gardens
They create green space, provide a source of social connection, increase healthy options and advance food security; however, community gardens also provide a number of economic benefits to an area. Here’s a look at five:
A number of studies have shown that the creation of a neighborhood green space through a community garden has a positive effect on surrounding property values. Some cite that the enhanced aesthetics, sense of place and increased supervision have boosted property values by as much as 9.4% over five years.
Estimates vary dramatically, but a community garden could result in food savings of anywhere from $70 to $380 per season, according to a 2020 study from Utah State University. While that may not seem significant enough to lift anyone out of a socioeconomic status, it’s hard to deny that it’s a pretty good hit to the grocery bill.
Every dollar invested in a community garden of 10 square feet yields $6 of edible fruits and vegetables, with those same 10 square feet generating 18 servings of food. That’s a sixfold return on investment, which makes a huge difference in low-income neighborhoods or in urban areas where access to fresh produce is scarce.
As noted by the Detroit-area nonprofit One New Humanity, gardeners themselves can benefit economically by building skills such as learning techniques in food production, planning and business. Community gardens that set up stands at farmers markets also engage with and stimulate the local economy.
Developing/maintaining a community garden is less expensive than parkland space, partially because gardens require a smaller area and 80% of their cost is in labor. Plus, residents instead of municipal employees maintain the sites. Gardens can also be folded into broader community programs for children and seniors.