The Community Farm: a healthy option for Saratoga County!
"Community gardens serve at the center of social activity and civic engagement...They can create economic opportunities and enhance environmental sustainability."
—Laura Saldivar-Tanaka & Marianne E. Kransky
The Community Farm at Pitney Meadows provides Saratoga County with the opportunity for many health-related economic, social, and environmental benefits. Don’t miss out on your chance to get involved!
Here are some fast facts about the advantages of community farms for its participants:
Better Food, Healthier People
- Community farms cultivate fresh, nutritious and locally-grown food. Since community farms allow direct farmer-to-consumer access and drastically shorten transportation time, the nutritional content of produce is not diminished by the time the produce is sold (Bremer et al, 2003).
- Those who participate in community farms (and their families) tend to eat higher daily quantities of fresh produce. According to one study, there was approximately a 31% increase in those who ate fresh produce five times per day if there was a community gardener in the family (Alaimo et al., 2008). Community gardeners are also more likely to meet national produce consumption recommendations than home gardeners by approximately 20% (Litt et al. 2011).
- Community gardening promotes increased physical activity. According to a study published in HortTechnology, gardening is classified as a moderate to highly intensive physical activity (Park et. al., 2014). The Mayo Clinic states that physical activity can combat and decrease risks for fatal diseases, including heart disease, type II diabetes, cancer, etc. As a result, community gardening could help minimize the economic burden on the healthcare system. For example, solely obesity-related complications in the U.S. cost around 190 billion dollars annually and are continuing to rise (Harvard School of Public Health). Community gardening can be one of the solutions to help reduce preventable deaths and their great economic toll on the healthcare system.
- Community gardening fosters mental and emotional well-being. Access to nature and open spaces can increase cognitive function, learning, memory, belonging, satisfaction and stress (University of Washington). Horticulture therapy, therapeutic treatment via gardening and nature activities, can help patients afflicted with anxiety-related disorders, like PTSD and depression, by reducing the occurrence of cortisol, a stress hormone (Northeast Public Radio).
Community Farms, Increased Economic Health
- Community gardens economically benefit local municipalities through an increase in property value and city tax revenue–in Milwaukee, each community garden boosted the city’s tax revenue by approximately 9,000 dollars (Gardening Matters).
- Community gardens also economically benefit its consumers, who generally save around 100 to 400 dollars on produce depending on the growing season (Hlubik et al. 1994; Armstrong, 2000; Gardening Matters).
- Community gardens economically benefit its farmers. Due to direct selling, farmers are able to keep a larger portion of profits since less money is spent on transportation, fuel, and packaging costs (Gardening Matters). Since the farmers themselves are interacting with consumers, they can hear consumer needs firsthand and adapt their business to maximize profitability.
“From 1949 to 1992, cropland loss rates were highest in the eastern states, especially in the extreme northeast where there are large urban populations and much marginal farmland”
— Drake University Law School, Food Security and Farmland Preservation
Although New York State is one of the biggest producers vegetables, fruits, and dairy nationwide, it is one of the least protected states in terms of farmland conservation with less than 5% of its farmland permanently protected (American Farmland Trust). Furthermore, over 4,000 farms have been developed and paved over in the last 30 years, which has further contributed to the aforementioned water quantity/quality and soil health issues in New York State. Alarmingly, approximately 80% of produce harvested in New York come from farms in danger of facing potential development in the near future (American Farmland Trust).
With your help, the Community Farm at Pitney Meadows will join the small number of permanently conserved farms in New York State. As the reasons listed above plainly state, a community farm will be a great addition to Saratoga County. Don’t miss out on your chance to support the Community Farm conservation initiative — donate now!