Benefits of Urban Gardens | Complete Guide

Urban Agriculture is an alternative to change the diet and lifestyle of urbanites. Today we will see why and what are the main benefits of urban gardens.

Gray Cities VS Urban Agriculture

Those of us who live in cities eat food that has been able to travel hundreds or even thousands of kilometers, coming from greenhouses of intensive agriculture. “Fresh” food that looks great, but actually hides the carbon footprint and the entire chemical process (artificial fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides…) behind it.

In addition, in cities, unlike in the middle of nature, there are many areas that are gray, cold, «lifeless» spaces…

Most of us are used to this way of living and eating, without realizing how necessary green spaces and a local and more natural diet are for our well-being.

Even if you don’t usually think about it, surely if you live in a city and have ever gone to the countryside, visited a friend’s orchard, or gone for a rural weekend after a time away from nature, you will have been able to verify that, deep down, your interior yearned for it.

Getting out of the concrete jungles that many cities around the world have become and getting in touch with nature has a therapeutic effect and improves general health. In addition, tasting fresh vegetables from the land (which always have a different flavor, much better…) transforms our diet towards a healthier and more natural diet.

But leaving the city is not always possible, and the best thing would be that in the very place where we live we could have green areas: more gardens, parks and avenues with trees, green roofs, and, of course, urban gardens.

Green roofs on roofs

More and more people and groups, aware of the benefits of urban gardens, are involved in the dissemination and implementation of Urban Agriculture projects or initiatives (speaking of this, I invite you to read the article « Cities Verdes en el mundo «, where you can learn about many of these initiatives).

Urban gardens are a very useful instrument not only in this aspect, which is why for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO, the support and promotion of Urban Agriculture is one of the main objectives of this century.

The benefits of urban gardens

Encompassed within Urban Agriculture, city gardens, urban gardens or leisure gardens, are structures with benefits in many areas:

Environmental benefits of orchards

  • Ecological Agriculture is practiced in most urban gardens. This set of techniques for food production is respectful of the environment, biodiversity and resource conservation.
  • Use of rainwater and reuse of urban and industrial waste: recycling is one of the fundamental aspects of Ecological Agriculture. Many organic residues from homes, the maintenance of parks and gardens or the food industry can be used in orchards, for the preparation of compost or the creation of covers or padding, thus helping to reduce the consumption of natural resources.
  • Green spaces reduce the carbon footprint in cities and the «heat island» effect.
  • They improve and enliven the urban landscape, and can even become an important aesthetic tool (if this interests you, you may like the article « Decorative gardens, the new trend of stylish gardens «).
  • They recover degraded and disused spaces where waste and rubbish of all kinds can accumulate. In many cities, neighborhood associations and groups fight to convert these spaces into more useful ones. And…many times they succeed!! A few months ago, the Barcelona City Council ceded 12 plots of land for the management of neighborhood and agro-ecological associations in order to create community gardens in the city.
  • They favor sustainability in cities for many reasons: it favors recycling, reduces the use of plastic containers and bags, reduces trips to remote green areas that serve as a social claim, improves air quality, recovers disused areas or downgraded…

Benefits of urban gardens in education

  • Pedagogical resource for environmental and nutritional education and awareness of children and adults. There are already experiences under way that confirm the success of urban gardens in this regard, such as the ‘El Huerto del Retiro’ Environmental Education Center.
  • School gardens are a useful educational tool for teaching science subjects in schools.
  • It encourages creativity and the ability to deal with the resolution of practical problems.
  • They are a space for practical learning of cultivation techniques (which would not be possible in «non-green» urban spaces) and other aspects of nature and agriculture.
  • It favors the exchange of intergenerational knowledge.

Social benefits of urban gardens

  • A community garden is a very useful meeting and coexistence place for the socialization of urbanites, which encourages associative work, communication and collaboration between people.
  • They represent a relaxing leisure alternative to combat stress and the hectic pace of life in cities.
  • Improvement of health and quality of life: they promote healthy lifestyle habits, such as the consumption of organic food (a factor to take into account for disease prevention) and physical activity in the garden.
  • Therapeutic and social integration benefits: it is very useful for the physical and mental well-being of vulnerable groups such as the elderly or those at risk of social exclusion. In addition, the practice of participatory and outdoor activities like this one, allows people with intellectual disabilities to overcome many of their complexes and helps them in their integration (You can read more about this in the article » La Huerta de Montecarmelo «).

Economic benefits

  • The harvest from the urban garden or the food purchased in the peri-urban organic gardens provide support for families who want organic food but cannot afford it because the organic food sold in supermarkets is too expensive.
  • It can become a means of subsistence for some groups: urban agriculture provides important support to the family economy in many developing countries such as Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Nepal or Vietnam.

I leave you here a video in which numerous defenders and experienced in this of the benefits of urban gardens tell us a little more about their objectives and challenges:

I hope you liked this article about the benefits of urban gardens, and that little by little people who live in big cities are encouraged to cultivate! If you know or can think of other benefits or advantages of urban gardens, do not hesitate to make new contributions in the comment thread below.


  1. Mougeot, L., 2006. Cultivating better cities. Urban agriculture for sustainable development. In_focus Collection. International Development Research Center.
  2. FAO, 2010. The fight against hunger and poverty What is the role of urban agriculture? Economic and Social Perspective Policy Briefs (August 2010).
  3. Mejías Moreno, AI, 2013. Contribution of urban gardens to health. Habitat and Society, nº 5, p. 85-103.
  4. Alvino, F., 2012. Urban agriculture for the sustainability of cities. Paideia XXI, vol. 2 (3), p. 81-92.

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