Shared gardening - connect over carrots

by Natasha Starkell | 28.12.2013 | gardening , shared | 0 comments | Rating: 0 votes

shared garden

shared garden

shared garden

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For city dwellers, the thought of eating home-grown vegetables and enjoying a well-organised, tidy garden seem but a remote dream…

Take Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, for example. It’s a bustling, economically vibrant city and many people have busy jobs with long hours.  But that’s not the only stumbling block. There’s also the fact that over half of households live in tenements, a type of apartment block, which mostly have shared back gardens. Under the Tenement (Scotland) Act 2004, the maintenance of a back garden should be shared by all flats in the block.

That means that if you want to do something radical to your shared garden (often not much more than a scrubby bit of grass or an overgrown jungle of weeds), you’ve got to get your neighbours involved (or at the very least, get their approval).

That’s why Edinburgh Community Backgreens Association, a community organisation, was set up. They support people who want to grow fruit and vegetables in their backgreens.  They encourage people to install raised beds – sometimes up to 38 in one garden – as well as sheds to share communal tools, and even jungle gyms to keep the kids entertained while you’re gardening.

They say: „By regenerating overlooked jungles into bountiful shared gardens, we unlock a huge amount of unused greenspace, which is a real benefit for folk in the city... We work to rebuild community connections, by creating shared community gardens as focus points for all sorts of folk to meet.“

In cities, where people are becoming increasingly isolated, the importance of such community connections cannot be underestimated.

Community connections aren’t the only benefit – even the NHS has community gardens because it recognises that gardening can promote mental health and well-being, healthy eating, environmental education and social inclusion.

Unlike the herbs in a communal garden, such benefits cannot be sniffed at.

Photo Credit: tricky (rick harrison)

Natasha Starkell
Written by Natasha Starkell

Working mum, struggling with gardening chores.

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