The benefits of gardening and food growing for health and wellbeing

Ulrich Schmutz, Margi Lennartsson Turner, Sarah Williams, Maria Devereaux, Gareth Davies

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract

This study reviews the extensive scientific literature that exists, examining the benefits of gardening and community food growing for both physical and mental health. The study presents a compelling case for action by health professionals and the NHS; local authority planners and Government planning policy specialists; and by communities themselves, to create the circumstances in which gardening and community food growing can thrive, for the benefit of everyone. This review of the scientific literature set out to demonstrate the strength of evidence for the benefits of gardening and food growing for physical and mental health and wellbeing. It shows that: ..to improve physical health, regular involvement in gardening or community food growing projects, or formal horticultural therapy, can: - Increase overall levels of physical activity and fitness, burn more calories and hence contribute to healthy weight management and reducing the risk of obesity. - Increase healthy fruit and vegetable consumption, for adults that grow food, and among schoolchildren participating in food-growing activities at school, as well as improving young people’s attitudes to healthy eating. - Reduce physical pain, and help with rehabilitation or recovery from surgery or other medical interventions. - Help people cope with physically challenging circumstances, such as intensive cancer treatment or learning how to live with chronic conditions such as asthma or severe allergies. ...to improve mental health, for people with acute or persistent mental health problems, or especially difficult personal circumstances, regular involvement in gardening or community food-growing projects, or formal horticultural therapy, can: - Contribute to improved social interactions and community cohesion. - Reduce the occurrence of episodes of stress, and the severity of stress and associated depression. - Reduce reliance on medication, self-harming behaviour, and visits to psychiatric services, whilst also improving alertness, cognitive abilities and social skills. - Alleviate symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, such as agitation and aggressive behaviour, which can in turn improve circumstances for carers. - Provide productive manual activity and beneficial social interaction for people tackling drug and alcohol dependency. - Help people manage the distress associated with mentally challenging circumstances, such as making the end of life more peaceful, sociable and enjoyable for hospice patients.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationRyton and London
PublisherGarden Organic and Sustain
Number of pages46
ISBN (Print)978-1-903060-5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2014

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    Schmutz, U., Lennartsson Turner, M., Williams, S., Devereaux, M., & Davies, G. (2014). The benefits of gardening and food growing for health and wellbeing. Ryton and London: Garden Organic and Sustain.