May’s Top Amenity: Gardens and Green Spaces!
By Bethany Mccammon Tap
Did you know that community gardens increase a sense of ownership and stewardship within a community? And did you know that they can foster and build a sense of community identity and spirit? Community gardens bring people together and can serve as a focal point for community organizing.
This month, we’re excited to share with you some amazing communities in which gardens, green spaces, and parks are a top amenity. These green spaces not only contribute to the beauty of a community, but they also help to build healthy and friendly communities where people work together.
For example, in the On Top of the World Communities in Ocala, FL, the garden club gives community residents the hands-on opportunity to grow their own food and flowers. And did you know that urban agriculture is 3-5 times more productive per acre than traditional large-scale farming? In communities like On Top of the World and Cumberland Harbour, a porch-front community in St. Marys, Georgia, the already beautiful natural environment is worked to serve the community, by providing food, activity, and fun.
And did you know that exposure to green space reduces stress and increases a sense of wellness and belonging? Imagine being in a community like Trilogy at Rice Ranch in Orcutt, California, where a 26-acre, award-winning park is right outside your front door, offering extensive walking, hiking, and biking trails. What better way to promote wellness than to be close to nature?
Even more than promoting general wellness, the food consumed from community gardens can have lasting benefits. Eating locally can reduce asthma rates and address any childhood lead poisoning. On Top of the World communities in Florida and Hot Springs Village in Arkansas have farmer’s markets where residents can sell their harvests to others in their community, fostering healthy eating and providing opportunities to socialize and bond with neighbors.
The benefits of having green spaces in communities are limitless. Community gardens filter rainwater, keeping lakes, rivers, and groundwater clean, especially in riverside communities like River Landing in Wallace, North Carolina, set along the northeast Cape Fear River.
And then there are places like Woodside Plantation in Aiken, South Carolina, where green spaces are a top priority. From gardening to walking on the community trails along ponds and creeks, there is sure to be something to do with a friend or two.
Gardens are clearly good for building a sense of community and for adding beauty to an area, but did you know that they also help reduce pollution by bringing more oxygen into the air. They also recycle huge amounts of organic wastes back into the soil. At Tellico Village in Loudon, Tennessee, community gardens are part of the active lifestyle that all the residents love. But having their community garden also promotes the health and wellness of their community, affecting even those who don’t work in the garden by giving them cleaner air, water, and soil.
So, whether you love to plant and harvest or just want to walk around and admire a garden, it’s clear that community gardens are a top amenity and serve to make communities even more fun, friendly, and healthy.