This spring, Urban Land Institute released the Building Healthy Places Toolkit, exploring 21 evidence-based recommendations for improving public health through land use practices. This series highlights the Building Healthy Places recommendations, examining our current properties and practices, and identifying ways that we can push ourselves to create more healthy communities.
Building Healthy Places Recommendation #12 Support on-site gardening and farming
COMMUNITY GARDENS, edible landscaping, and small farms grow produce that can make a healthy diet more accessible. Participation in community gardening activities can increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, and when community members come together around the growing of food, the interaction promotes social bonds and connections. Local produce helps reduce pollution associated with shipping food long distances. In recent years, gardening has enjoyed a growing popularity, a trend that is likely to continue. Small farms can take the place of golf courses as community centerpieces, can cost less on an upfront and ongoing basis, and can provide community members with fresh, locally grown food. —Building Healthy Places Toolkit: Strategies for Enhancing Health in the Built Environment, Urban Land Institute, 2015