What is green, beautiful and colorful? If you guessed community gardens, you’re correct!

Community gardens are very important to the environment. They have the ability to “[bind] the neighborhood” (Mark Powell, as cited in the Christian Science Monitor), helping people get to know each other. With all the pollution around the world, community gardens are also a green spot available for everyone. Community gardens are a source of bringing people together.

In order to collect information about how special these spaces are, I went to the amazing Two Coves Community Garden Astoria. There I interviewed Rita Coelho, a gardener who gave me a lot of useful information. According to Coelho, “Community gardens are where you can meet people, grow food, have parties or events and share your interests about plants. Also, it is where you can make connections with people.”

While gardening, there are many different people you can meet; they can have different cultures, but that doesn’t stop friendship from budding. Coelho told me that some people garden, water and weed for each other at Two Coves. Coelho also shared that there are many steps to successfully planting. She taught me that “there are many things to do in a community garden; there are never too many hands to help. We have to nurture the soil, plant the right bulb in the right place, weed and water.”

She continued, “There are a lot of plants here; lots of plants means lots of weeds, and weeding is a hard and tiring job. If more people help, it wouldn’t be as hard.”

I agree with her too: More people should volunteer in and connect with community gardens, such as Two Coves. One way this would be possible is if local governments spread awareness about community gardens, because many people don’t know where community gardens are located, what they are or how they work. With more citizens aware of the wonders of community gardens, we would have the ability to open more community gardens and it wouldn’t be a burden to maintain them.

Working at a community garden is a pleasure, not a burden. There are a number of ways you can get involved, such as starting a garden through Green Thumb, the largest community gardening program in the nation, or finding a community garden to join through Oasis Map.

Now it is your choice: Do you want more connection to community gardens? I hope so!

Aleena Peerzada is a middle school student from northern Queens.

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