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The Benefits of Gardening

Every year gardeners get excited as the snow begins to melt, and the outdoor temperatures become more suitable for planting. Gardening provides accessible, nutritious, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Aside from these already incredible perks, gardening has many additional benefits for the individual, community, and environment. The following are the top ten added benefits of gardening this summer.  

To accompany this blog post we invite you to watch this IGTV video created by Kristine Faza, a Health Coach from Oakville, discussing the benefits of gardening from her perspective as a Health Coach.  

No 1. Learning New Skills – Gardening helps you learn new skills and build on the skills that you already have. When faced with a gardening challenge, such as a new pest or reoccurring weed, you can learn from experts around you or the resources available online. The Halton Food website contains a wealth of gardening resources, and we are always willing to answer your gardening questions through email or direct message.   

No 2. Supports Mental Health – Gardening supports good mental health.1 2 3 4 Gardening reduces stress by providing physical exercise, a creative outlet, and time outdoors. 1 Gardening allows for a deeper sense of belonging, reconnection with our roots, and connection with our natural surroundings. For many gardeners, gardening allows one to find a sense of purpose. 

No 3. Physical Activity – Gardening and yard work are excellent forms of exercise. 1 3 Light yard work and gardening can be low to medium impact, burn calories, and be accessible for everyone. Gardening is a fun and productive way to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. 

No 4. Encourages Healthy Eating – When growing your own food, you are eating local, fresh, seasonal, and pesticide-free fruits and vegetables.1 A benefit to growing your own fruits and vegetables is that you have control over and knowledge of the seed variety, soil quality, and weed and pest control. 

No 5. Trying New Fruits and Vegetables – Who would not want to try growing and eating a yellow tomato or purple radish? Gardening is a great way to experiment with growing unique fruits and vegetables. This could be a different variety of an already loved fruit or vegetable, or trying something entirely new.  

No 6. Spending Time with Nature – Fresh air and spending time outside go hand-in-hand with gardening. There are incredible physical and mental benefits to spending time outdoors in nature. Remember your hats, sunglasses, and other sun protection!  

No 7. Environmentally Friendly – Backyard and community gardening has incredible benefits for our environment. Gardening attracts pollinators, reduces food transit time (and associated carbon dioxide emissions), reduces erosion, increases air quality, provides habitats for animals and insects, cleans groundwater, and so much more.  

No 8. Saves Money – Growing fruits and vegetables in a backyard or community garden can save you money. When growing fruits and vegetables your family enjoys eating, you are reducing your grocery store expense. Further, gardening can increase confidence in both food safety and food security. 

No 9. Combating Loneliness with Companionship – Gardening, specifically community gardening, is a fun way to interact and spend time with others in your community. 3 When gardening in safe, physically-distant, outdoor spaces, you are not only helping your local community, but you are also providing companionship to others. 4 

No 10. Community Building – Community gardening is a beautiful way to meet and get to know your neighbours and build lasting relationships. Gardening allows you to share your knowledge with others and bond with people who have similar interests.  

St Christopher's Community Food Garden

Want to enjoy the benefits of gardening and volunteer with Halton Food? We are looking for volunteers from beginner or zero gardening experience to expert. Download this volunteer application form and email the completed form to Sandi at Open Doors at St Christopher’s.

What benefits do you see in yourself or your surroundings when you garden? Share in the comments below. We would love to hear from you. 

Questions? Please email us at grow@haltonfood.ca.   

Contributed by Alicja Jazwiec, Community Garden Education Assistant 

References: 

Davies, G., Devereaux, M., Lennartsson, M., Schmutz, U., and Williams, S. (2014). The benefits of gardening and food growing for health and wellbeing. London, United Kingdon: Growing Health. 

2 Lynch, J., Meter, K., Robles-Schrader, G., Goldenberg, M.P., Bassler, E., Chusid, S., and Jansen Austin, C. (2015). Exploring Economic and Health Impacts of Local Food Procurement. Chicago, IL: Illinois Public Health Institute. 

3 Thompson, R. (2018). Gardening for health: a regular dose of gardening. Clinical Medicine, 18(3), 201-5.  

4 Wang, D., and Millan, T. (2012). The Benefits of Gardening for Older Adults: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Activities, Adaptation & Aging, 37(2), 153-181.  

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