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Community, school and employer-sponsored gardens play an important role in improving health and reducing obesity. Gardens increase access to fresh vegetables, provide opportunities for physical activity, teach both adults and children about the origins of their food, and promote healthier eating behaviors. As gardening opportunities increase, advocates must often address legal and policy issues that affect the development and maintenance of gardens. These issues include access to water, composting efforts, land use planning and zoning considerations, liability issues, and the organizational structure of the gardens.
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Community gardening can have a tremendous positive impact on food access, community vitality, local economies, and environmental conditions in local communities. This guide provides a road map for how local laws and policies can impact local gardening efforts, recognizing that each community will need to assess how the specific local and legal context of their community impacts specific gardening efforts.