Raised beds are a good idea for community gardens for a number of reasons. They solve drainage problems, make weeding easier and reduce soil compaction. In addition, because community gardens are often created in urban areas where soil contamination is common, raised beds can provide a means of reducing exposure to harmful chemicals. If you use raised beds, you can avoid planting directly in contaminated soil.
There are many ways to turn a vacant piece of land into a garden. Here is how one group built raised bed community gardens from the ground up in Utica, NY.
More information on raised bed gardening
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