Here’s the deal: I am a frustrated urban farmer. I am frustrated because I have no space to plant fruits and vegetables in the Summer and since I live in Michigan, we have a relatively short growing season. Come to think of it, I am not really even sure if you would call me a farmer. Maybe farmer-esque? Farmer-ish? How about pretend farmer? Whatever the case, I love growing plants. So despite city rabbits, the neighborhood terror cat who karate-chopped my heirloom tomatoes last summer and the destructiveness of my dogs Inaki and Josefina, I have decided to commit to growing tomatoes and peppers in 10, 5-gallon buckets this season. There. I have declared it in public, and like a good millennial, I have to follow this declaration up with a separate Instagram, twitter, and facebook accounts for this new adventure. If it’s not on Facebook, it’s not real. All kidding aside, here’s a list of the many benefits of having your own garden or participating in community gardening:
1) Home gardening is positively associated with greater fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, and improve mental well-being among adolescents (van Lier et al., 2017).
2) Folks who participate in community gardening experience less depression and fatigue (Wood, Pretty, & Griffin, 2016).
3) Community gardening is associated with reductions in BMI and lower odd of being overweight (Zick, Smith, Kowaleski-Jones, Uno, & Merrill, 2013).
4) In a meta-analysis, gardening is also associated with life satisfaction and community-building (Soga, Gaston, & Yamaura, 2017).
5) Community gardens most of all, at the most basic level, improve access to nutritious food (Wakefield, Yeudall, Taron, Reynolds, & Skinner, 2007).
Soga, M., Gaston, K. J., & Yamaura, Y. (2017). Gardening is beneficial for health: A meta-analysis. Preventive Medicine Reports, 5, 92–99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2016.11.007
van Lier, L. E., Utter, J., Denny, S., Lucassen, M., Dyson, B., & Clark, T. (2017). Home Gardening and the Health and Well-Being of Adolescents. Health Promotion Practice, 18(1), 34–43. https://doi.org/10.1177/1524839916673606
Wakefield, S., Yeudall, F., Taron, C., Reynolds, J., & Skinner, A. (2007). Growing urban health: Community gardening in South-East Toronto. Health Promotion International, 22(2), 92–101. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/dam001
Wood, C. J., Pretty, J., & Griffin, M. (2016). A case–control study of the health and well-being benefits of allotment gardening. Journal of Public Health, 38(3), e336–e344. https://doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdv146
Zick, C. D., Smith, K. R., Kowaleski-Jones, L., Uno, C., & Merrill, B. J. (2013). Harvesting more than vegetables: the potential weight control benefits of community gardening. American Journal of Public Health, 103(6), 1110–5. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2012.301009