What is a Communal Garden?

April S. Kenyon

A communal garden is generally located in an urban area. It is shared by a number of individuals within the community. Generally, these gardens have large fences surrounding them and locked gates at the entrances. Only the members of the communal garden are given keys to access the area. Depending upon the location and the decision of the members, the gardens may be opened to the public during the day or remain locked to all but the individual members.

A communal garden is shared by multiple individuals in a community.
A communal garden is shared by multiple individuals in a community.

The various gardeners who share in the upkeep of the space might either work together in one large garden plot, or individually in allotment gardens. These types of gardens are generally formal, but they might combine an array of different vegetables and flowers. It is not unusual to see a communal garden with an area dedicated to the ornamental aspects of gardening and another area designated for the cultivation of vegetables. Some communal gardens might function as a community effort to grow produce for market.

Different kinds of flowers may be grown in a communal garden.
Different kinds of flowers may be grown in a communal garden.

Communal gardens may be located in school areas, near hospitals, in neighborhoods, or within a public square. The land used for the development of a communal garden might either be privately or publicly owned. Many urban areas find it beneficial to turn abandoned city lots into communal gardens for the enjoyment of the community. It is also common that garden squares be created in areas where a plot of land is surrounded by buildings.

A communal garden benefits the community in a variety of ways. In addition to beautifying the neighborhood, a communal garden also provides an opportunity for members of the community to work together towards a common goal. It has been found that areas with communal gardens generally have a lower crime rate than many other urban communities. These types of gardens also provide an opportunity to create an income and encourage economic and community development. Communal gardens offer a piece of green living in the center of an urban area and provide a form of recreation for those within the community.

In addition to the benefits a communal garden offers to the overall community, it also presents a number of individual benefits. This type of gardening provides social interaction and therapeutic exercise for those within the neighborhood. It also provides an opportunity for a variety of generations and cultures to interact with one another and work towards a common objective. A communal garden can serve as both a recreational and educational resource for the young and old alike.

Many communal gardens grow vegetables that are donated to low income families.
Many communal gardens grow vegetables that are donated to low income families.

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Discussion Comments


This article mentions that communal gardens are often in urban locations. These gardens can also work in suburban and rural places. My house is in a planned community outside the city, and. there are rural properties adjacent to my community.

A retired farmer who owns land surrounding our homes let's people who live in our housing development use his farm land to produce food. The garden we started has grown in size each year, and now it produces a large variety of fruits and vegetables.

We can plant whatever we want, and there is far more land available than we use, so no one complains about lack of space or someone using too much space. This setup is particularly appropriate for us because the houses in our community were not built on extremely large lots, and there is little to no garden space available.


The youth group I volunteer with adopts a community each year. We find a plot of land in the community. We search out a piece of land that is located in a central area and that is suitable for growing vegetables. Then, when we are able to get permission to use the land, we start working to create a garden. We let the residents know what we are going to do and what they can do to help.

The ideal situation is when the residents in the community come out and help us with the garden. We choose neighborhoods with a large population of elderly adults. Even the people who are not physically able to work in the garden often enjoy just sitting around and talking while others work.Everyone one in the community is allowed to pick from the garden even if he or she didn't help with the cultivating of the vegetables.

Ideally, the entire experience teaches the kids about responsibility, teamwork, community service and gardening; and brings the residents closer while giving them a fun and productive activity.

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