Gardening

Benefits of Urban Gardens | Complete Guide

The Urban Agriculture is an alternative to changing your 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 intensively agricultural greenhouses. “Fresh” food that looks very good, 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 .

Although you do not think about it usually, surely if you live in a city and have one day gone to the countryside, have visited a friend’s garden, or have gone on a rural weekend after a time away from nature, you will have been able to check that, deep down, your interior yearned for it.

Leaving the concrete jungles that many cities in the world have become and coming into contact with nature has a therapeutic effect and improves general health . In addition, tasting vegetables fresh 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 if 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. 

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

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

The benefits of urban gardens

Included within Urban Agriculture, gardens in cities , 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 with the environment, biodiversity and conservation of resources.
  • Use of rainwater and reuse of urban and industrial waste : recycling is one of the fundamental aspects of Ecological Agriculture. Many organic waste from homes, park and garden maintenance or the food industry can be used in orchards, for composting or creating covers or mulches, 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 vivify 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 for stylish gardens « ).
  • They recover degraded and disused spaces where waste and garbage of all kinds can accumulate. In many cities neighborhood associations and groups struggle to convert these spaces into more useful ones. And … many times they get it !! A few months ago, the Barcelona City Council gave 12 lots for the management by neighborhood and agroecological 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 make a social claim, improves air quality, recovers disused areas or degraded …

Benefits of urban gardens in education

  • Pedagogical resource for education and environmental and nutritional awareness  of children and adults. Experiences are already underway that confirm the success of urban gardens in this regard, such as the  Environmental Education Center ‘El Huerto del Retiro’ .
  • School gardens are a useful educational tool for teaching science subjects in schools.
  • It encourages creativity and the ability to face practical problem solving.
  • 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 intergenerational exchange of knowledge.

Social benefits of urban gardens

  • A community garden is a very useful meeting and coexistence place for urbanites socialization, which encourages associative work, communication and collaboration between people.
  • They are 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 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 peri-urban organic gardens provide support for families who want organic food but cannot afford it because 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 experts in this of the benefits of urban gardens tell us a little more about their objectives and challenges:

I hope you liked this article on 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.

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