Community gardens provide excellent opportunities for promoting physical activity and healthy eating, as well as civic participation. Growing Gardens, a nonprofit located in Boulder, Colorado, is a prime example of this synergy. Since 1998, the organization has opened six separate garden sites with hundreds of individual plots.
Growing Gardens is committed to reaching underserved communities. It runs two programs specifically targeting youth. The first, Cultiva!, involves at-risk teens in community service while teaching them about business practices and healthy eating. The program enrolls teens to tend garden patches together, donating the majority of their produce to those in need while selling the rest at the Boulder Farmers Market. The second, the Children.s Peace Garden, educates younger children about gardening and the environment. Some of the classes are taught by teens from Cultiva! The organization also runs programs for disabled and elderly citizens.
Growing Gardens is committed to expanding access to its gardens, and hopes to continue opening new plots. In addition, the organization is raising funds to build a greenhouse near its oldest garden in order to provide year-round opportunities for gardening and education.
Using Community Gardens to Engage Diverse Audiences