Urban Gardens: Part of a Whole System Approach: Response #2 to Hallsworth and Wong’s Viewpoint
Hallsworth and Wong ask the question, "Does encouraging urban gardening in private and/or community lots meaningfully improve [Vancouver's] food system?" (2013, p. 3). They believe the answer is no, but community gardens and urban agriculture do impact a city's food system. Are they the only solution? No. In our world of recessions and fiscal cliffs, so much seems to revolve solely on economics while other significant benefits are often discredited or diminished. Community gar-dens are important aspects of an urban landscape for its people and environment, but also do impact the economics, on the individual and community levels as well.
Even though most plots are relatively small, a community gardener is able to produce a significant amount of produce. During World War II, "20 million victory gardeners produced 44 percent of the fresh vegetables in the United States" (WhyHunger, 2011, "Vegetables for Victory," para. 2). More recently, "studies have estimated that a community garden can yield around USD500 to USD2,000 worth of produce per family a year" (PolicyLink, n.d., "Why Use It?" bullet "Save families money..."). And not only do community gardeners grow healthy produce, but they eat it. A study in Denver found that compared to non¬gardeners or home gardeners, community gardeners ate significantly more fruits and vegetables (Litt, Soobader, Turbin, Hale, Buchenau, & Marshall, 2011). While the food grown in community gardens is not enough to sustain one, it does affect the gardener's food budget and is healthy produce that otherwise may not have been accessible to him or her. "A study of all food stores in three low-income zip codes in Detroit found that only 19 percent, or fewer than one in five stores, carried a minimal 'healthy food basket' [of] products based on the food pyramid" (Pothukuchi, 2003, p. 5). Additionally, for many immigrants, this might be the only way to have access to crops they have a tradition of eating.....
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