Written By Emma Finklang, Grant Writing & Development

Over the past year, home gardening gained popularity as more people spent time around the house (Reuters). However, gardening is more than just a way to pass the time–it has long-term positive benefits for both humans and the environment.

Nutrition

Even if you’re not growing fruits and veggies, gardens have myriad benefits for human health. Spending time outside gardening increases Vitamin D production and makes people happier (Good Housekeeping). Plus, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recognizes gardening as one common chore that helps lower blood pressure. Gardening is about so much more than growing plants: it is a moderate-intensity exercise that boosts moods and reduces stress. 

Child development

An exciting facet of gardening is that it provides many opportunities for children to receive both nutrition and physical education. From the texture of the leaves to the smell of the soil, gardening provides a rich sensory environment for developing minds. Children can ask questions about where plants come from and how they grow. In this way gardening also promotes bonding between children and caretakers. Through activities like planting seeds and carrying watering cans, children can practice both fine motor and locomotor skills (Michigan State University). With new plants sprouting in spring, now is a great time for children to get hands-on in the garden.

Sustainability

Gardening, and community gardens in particular, address key economic, environmental, and social sustainability concerns. In areas where supermarkets are either not accessible or not affordable, gardens can provide community members with much-needed produce. By decreasing the distance from source to consumer, pollution and cost is also reduced. A further benefit is that when communities grow their own food, there is increased access to culturally-specific produce. This creates greater incentive for people to consume fruits and vegetables. 

Resources:

Butcher, Kittie and Pletcher, Janet. “Gardening with young children helps their development” Michigan State University,  https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/gardening_with_young_children_helps_their_development. Accessed 14 April 2021.  

Hartwick, Beth. “5 Essential Tips for Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest” Parent Map,  https://www.parentmap.com/article/vegetable-gardening-in-the-pacific-northwest. Accessed 14 April 2021.  

Hawkins, Amanda and Picard, Caroline. “7 Benefits of Gardening That Prove It Helps Your Mind and Body” Good Housekeeping, https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/wellness/a22109/health-benefits-gardening/. Accessed 14 April 2021.  

Polansek, Tom and Walljasper, Christopher. “Home gardening blooms around the world during coronavirus lockdowns” Reuters,  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-gardens/home-gardening-blooms-around-the-world-during-coronavirus-lockdowns-idUSKBN2220D3. Accessed 14 April 2021. 


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