We all know that gardening provides a plethora of benefits for people including getting outside in the Vit D, having fresh produce on hand, and feeling a sense of accomplishment after a big harvest!
However whilst reading some conference papers given to me kindly by the Sustainability Project Officer at Randwick City Council, I slowly realised myself that gardening in an urban environment provides great health benefits for people living in this concrete jungle!
1. Eating a more fresh and seasonal diet – when food is mass-produced and brought by the truckload, transport and storage systems decrease the nutrient content of many fresh fruits and vegetables (Feagan 2007).
2. Food systems are changing – the current food system of global sourcing of food is a business model created mostly by large retailers and has been very effective, however the alternative food system of community gardens shows that people are interested in growing and distributing food on a smaller scale. People have become increasingly aware of information provided on labels in large supermarkets, and are shifting their focus towards organically produced and healthier foods AND hopefully will start growing more of their own fruit and veggies after seeing these labels!!!
3. Physical activity – digging, weeding, planting, moving….it is all exercise and all great for the body!
4. Psychological health – social interactions between members of community gardens is a VERY important thing. As discussed in the ‘Conceptualising community in community gardens’ blog post, the idea of ‘community’ I feel is diminishing and therefore this focal point that brings people together and contributes to feelings of belonging.
To see how community gardening can provide health benefits and a sense of belonging to refugees, see this Fact Sheet from Gardening Australia: Building a Future
5. Relieves stress – Getting out in the garden and placing your mind on something else other than your own problems is all it takes sometimes to be a solution to stress.
Take a look at another Fact Sheet from Gardening Australia on how gardening can be a solution to stress for people with busy lives: Solution to Stress
DO YOU HAVE ANY HEALTH BENEFIT STORIES OF YOUR URBAN AGRICULTURE EXPERIENCES???