Programs that provide plots of land on which groups of people living in a neighbourhood can grow fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. Community gardens provide access to fresh produce and plants; may be located in parks, schools, hospital grounds or other open areas; and may be nurtured communally and the bounty shared, have individual plots for personal use, or be dedicated to "urban agriculture" where produce is grown for a market. Some have raised beds that are accessible to people with disabilities. The gardens provide an opportunity for participants to savour the freshness, flavour and wholesomeness of home-grown produce; save money on their food bills; grow traditional foods not available in the supermarket; or simply get some exercise and enjoy the benefits of being outdoors. They also support a community's food security, contribute to the preservation of open space, strengthen community bonds, provide a sense of connection to the environment and offer opportunities for community education.
Programs that provide information, technical assistance and support for individuals who want to grow their own produce in a home garden setting. Services may include consultation regarding planting times, soil care and preparation, produce selection and pest control; provision of materials such as seed, fertilizer, potting soil, sod, manure, composting worms and other gardening supplies; and information and guidance regarding harvesting.
Programs that preserve and protect endangered plant resources, protect areas where endangered plants currently thrive and restore plant habitats ensuring the preservation of the ecosystem.
Programs that offer open-air learning experiences, particularly for schoolchildren, that promote appreciation for and understanding of local ecosystems and our fundamental connections to the world around us. Activities may include identification of plants, insects and animals and exploration of their habitats, learning about weather and its relationship to environmental processes, geological history and demonstrations of the importance of biodiversity and sustainability. Students may investigate the life cycles of animals in a pond; observe the growth and reproduction of common plant species; examine the form and function of leaves, stems, roots and flowers and how these features help to classify plants; consider the interrelationship between predator and prey; learn how different animals grow and change with the seasons; learn and practice compass navigation and other outdoor skills; and/or make other discoveries which foster engaged and responsible environmental citizenship. Outdoor education programs may be provided through schools, conservation authorities or other organizations.
Programs that offer a form of therapy which enables individuals with mental, physical or developmental disabilities, substance abuse disorders, chronic health conditions or other problems to achieve self-expression and emotional release through gardening.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.