I went down to Washington this week and spent a day helping my mom in her garden. She has a plot in a community garden in NW D.C. right behind the condo building that she lives in. When I was a kid we lived out in the suburbs and she had plenty of room in our yard to grow vegetables. I grew up eating lots of fresh vegetables that I had picked myself.
Gardening is so often a solitary activity, especially in the suburbs. But, urban gardening is most likely a group activity. Now that my mom is retired and living in a more densely populated area her gardening has taken on a different life. The community garden that she belongs to has over two acres of total garden space divided into 200 plots which are occupied by 180 members. It gives her not just a place to grow vegetables, but also a forum used to meet and interact with her friends neighbors. Anyone from any neighborhood in the city can join the garden, but most of the members live within walking distance.
Some of the more interesting plots are gardened by immigrants who grown fruits and vegetables from their homelands that cannot be bought in local supermarkets. The gardeners often share or trade what they have grown and / or the seeds that they are grown from. This time of year my mother concentrates on growing heirloom tomatoes, okra, hot peppers, eggplant, summer squash, and hardy greens that can withstand the Summer heat.