St. Peter’s Gardens is a community garden project launched in March 2015 by St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Champaign, Ill. We are a communal garden growing flowers and edible crops to enhance the beauty of St. Peter’s while providing delicious and nutritious fresh food for the membership and surrounding community.
A Growing Mission
- Grow friendship within the church and surrounding community
- Grow awareness and knowledge about gardening and healthy eating
- Grow access to healthy fruits and vegetables
- Developing and maintaining garden space is less expensive than parkland area, in part because gardens require little land and 80% of their cost is in labor.
- Composting saves on landfill space, saving the city and taxpayers money.
- Provides a significant source of food and/or income for community members.
- Urban agriculture is 3-5 times more productive per acre than traditional large-scale farming.
- Studies show that community gardens can increase neighborhood property values.
- Gardening is considered a moderate to intense form of exercise and addresses endurance, flexibility and strength activities.
- Can provide low-income families a sense of independence, skill development, food security and economic savings.
- Eating locally produced food reduces asthma rates, because children are able to consume manageable amounts of local pollen and develop immunities.
- People who grow their own food have access to a variety of fresh produce that supports nutritional health, decreases susceptibility to illnesses and overall reduces the burden on the health care system.
- Gardening involves physical activity so it helps participants improve their physical fitness.
- Exposure to green space reduces stress and increases a sense of wellness and belonging.
- Community gardens provide a place to retreat from the noise and commotion of urban environments.
- Rainwater is filtered through gardens, helping to keep lakes, rivers and groundwater clean.
- Community gardens restore oxygen into the air and help reduce air pollution.
- Large quantities of organic waste can be used to fertilize gardens, helping minimize a community’s overall waste output.
- Reduce soil erosion and runoff, which lessens flooding.
- Beautifying the environment and promoting sustainability.
- By providing a “hands-on” learning opportunity to gain knowledge of the natural world, community gardens offer a unique contribution to the urban built environment.
- Gardens increase and protect vegetation diversity in a community, while also providing habitat for urban wildlife.
- A community garden becomes an outdoor classroom where learning to grow plants is mentally stimulating and working in it develops critical life skills.
- Youth gain practical job and life skills (such as math and basic business principles), they also learn about the work that is required to get the food they eat to the table, the importance of community, stewardship and environmental sustainability.
- Teaches all participants to think sustainably and use long-term problem- solving skills rather than relying on quick fix, short-term solutions.
- Teaches the public on issues such as waste minimization, recycling through composting and mulching and water conservation.