The Value of Community Gardens: Assessing the Productivity of New Haven Community Gardens

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Maria Trumpler
Essay Abstract: 
Across North America, a growing interest in community gardens has stimulated an interdisciplinary study of their impacts. This study seeks to answer the following question: Are community gardens nutritionally, financially and socially productive spaces? In order to answer this question, I conducted a case study to evaluate the three indicators of productivity, in five different New Haven community gardens. I conducted 15 interviews and surveys, and collected participant observations over a 12 week period. The results of the study indicated that the volume of fruits and vegetables harvested was marginal and that the financial savings were small. However, the study found that perceived productivity was a more important measure in determining the productivity of community gardens for the individual gardeners. In general, the gardens have the potential to be highly productive and vibrant spaces with a variety of nutritional, financial and social benefits.