Thanks to a recent streak of warm weather, Michiganders are itching to start prepping their home gardens for the season. Though we may not have seen our final frost of the season yet, many local residents have already started their seedlings indoors.

However, the Farmers Almanac says the time to start seedlings outdoors is soon approaching in Southwest Michigan. Such vegetables as peas and radishes have outdoor plant dates starting as early as March 8 of this year, but what do you do if you don't have the space for a garden yourself?

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I was pleasantly surprised to find out there are a handful of community gardens in the Kalamazoo area-- more than you'd expect! I love the idea of community gardens because they truly bring people together and make residents more invested in their communities.

Several studies including research done at Michigan State University have shown that, "Community gardens...beautify urban neighborhoods, improve access to fresh produce, and engage youth." Not only that, "Community gardens have the potential to decrease...barriers [to fresh food] by lowering the cost of produce, increasing access, and eventually increasing acceptance and improving taste perceptions of fruits and vegetables."

According to the website Common Ground Kalamazoo, there are over 40 community gardens in our area. Below we've highlighted several community gardens throughout the Kalamazoo area:

Central City Community Garden - North Kalamazoo

via Google Maps
via Google Maps
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Located on the corner of Eleanor and N. Burdick. Designed to be wheelchair accessible.


 

West Main Hill Community Garden - West Kalamazoo

via Google Maps
via Google Maps
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This is the first community garden to be located within a city park. Find the garden within Henderson Park at 1500 Grand Ave.


 

Wall Street Community Garden - South Kalamazoo

via Google Maps
via Google Maps
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One of the longest standing community gardens in Kalamazoo. Gardeners plant and tend to their own plots. Located at 316 Wall Street.


 

Eastwood Community Garden - East Kalamazoo

via Google Maps
via Google Maps
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This 50' x 50' garden is located at 1405 Baker Street on the site of the former Baker Elementary School and is used by neighbors and residents.

As mentioned, these are only a handful of the local community gardens that are open to Kalamazoo area residents. Find contact info and details on how to get your own plot within these gardens here.

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