Community gardens have existed since the beginning of cities in some form or another.

During archeological digs evidence shows that there were some type of shared gardens in most cities. But there is more documentation for Community gardens and Allotment gardens and how they were organized from the 1700’s until the present time. Victory gardens share some of the same common characteristics as community gardens and are often grouped in the same gardening movements.

Allotment gardening Is a term used in the United Kingdom. It is primarily the same idea as community gardening here in the United States. It means a group of people who rent or lease a section of land or an allotment, which they plant a garden. The gardener is usually allowed to plant a vegetable or flower garden, herb garden, certain fruits, or all of the combinations listed. A few community gardens or allotment gardens allow raising poultry. Allotment gardens are ideal for people who live in apartments, cities or have little or inadequate garden space. Law in England and Wales requires councils to provide allotments for citizens I read that all councils in England and Wales, except Inner London, must by law, provide allotments for anyone who is interested. Any group of adults over the age of 18 and registered on the electoral role can group together to request the council provide space. If you are interested in starting an allotment garden contact your local Parish, Town, Borough, City or District Council. National Society of Allotment & Leisure Gardeners (UK) If you are interested in allotment gardening in the UK, contact National Society of Allotment & Leisure Gardeners Ltd, O'Dell House, Hunters Road, Corby, Northants, NN17 5JE, Tel: 01536 266576, Fax: 01536 264509, or email: natsoc@nsalg.org.uk. Scotland Allotment Gardens The Scottish Allotments and Garden Society work to raise awareness of allotment gardening throughout Scotland. They are interested in gardeners that will share their experience and expertise. One of their goals is to preserve the skills of gardening, to conserve seeds, and continue plant varieties that are endangered. They urge all gardeners, from beginners to advanced to become involved in local allotment associations.

Community gardens in America Since the 1890s there have been gardening movements to provide gardening space in urban areas. They feel the gardens will provide free food, exercise, community involvement and improve the over all environment of cities and towns. Gardens in America have appeared in vacant-lot gardens, school gardens, parks and businesses. Depression-era relief gardens, victory gardens, and community gardens gained in popularity during these periods of social and economic change. Part of the reason was the need; the other reason was the government ran programs encouraging gardening. America’s gardening history can see  The School Garden Movement, which is still in practice today  The War Garden Campaign  Patriotic Volunteerism: Victory Gardens of World War II  The Goodness of Gardening: Gardens as Civic Improvement  National Urban Garden Campaigns, 1917 to 1945  Garden Programs of the 1930s Depression  Gardening for Community, 1945 to the Present  The Community Garden Movement of the 1970s and 1980s  Community Greening: Urban Garden Programs from 1990 to the Present

One of the larger American community gardens is the Clinton Community Garden in New York City. They host a large variety of activities in the garden areas for children and parents to participate in. Check out their website at clintoncommunitygarden.org. The interest in community gardens, allotment gardens and Victory garden methods continues to grow and has spread worldwide. If you know of any allotment, community or victory gardens in other countries please email me The gardenersrake is hosting a community garden/victory garden contest to help encourage people to garden. Everyone is encouraged to participate. Go to http://www.scribd.com/doc/2049821/Community-Garden-Contest-Victory-Gardencontest-begins for contest rules. Happy gardening all, Denise

Denise Grant is a published author, photographer and artist. She owns her own art business and specializes in nature photography. Further articles can be found at http://thegardenersrake.com