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Attention gardeners: Henry actively recruiting members for community garden

If Bob Henry can get 10 people interested, he will be provided space at the Great Swamp Conservancy in Canastota to plant a community garden. According to Henry, another gardener may offer an additional 50 acres for that purpose, as well.

Gardeners may plant fruits, vegetables or flowers at their discretion, he said.

Gardening is a great way to enjoy fresh produce and flowers, but it's also a terrific way to meet new people and make friends, Henry said. People from all sorts of backgrounds can come together over a common goal.

Experienced gardeners can teach novices from their own wealth of knowledge.

Henry said the benefits of community gardening are many:

Community gardens can help prevent crime. Police departments have recognized local gatherings as an effective type of community-based crime prevention strategy. Increased green space has been linked with a decrease in crime. Some judges have ordered non-violent offenders to work in gardens, and this has helped them learn respect and cooperation.

Neighbors meet and get to know each other over their plants.

With so much food coming in packages, cans, or processed with fruits vegetables that grow worlds away from each other, our connection with our food is growing increasingly distant. Community gardens can be used to teach people where food comes from, basic business and math skills and sustainability.

Gardening is a job and life skill. It is a way to relax, enjoy a creative outlet and a hands-on, results-driven hobby.

Gardening is a healthy and cost-effective way for youth that brings them closer to nature and allows them to mingle in a way that's physically and socially productive.

Gardens grow food, but people often are unable to garden because they don't have land available or poor soil quality. St. Paul Parks and Recreation also reports that urban agriculture is three to five times more productive per acre than large-scale farming. In addition, local gardening helps provide nutritious foods that people may otherwise be unable to obtain because of finances or unavailability.

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