Gardening improves mental and physical health during the pandemic – Low Calorie Diets Tips

UC Davis conducted a survey suggesting that increasing the number of green spaces can help urban agriculture

By MONICA MANMADKAR — science@theaggie.org

Gardening has always been a sanctuary people could rely on in times of crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic has not been dissimilar. In a global opinion poll Led by UC Davis and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), researchers collected stories of gardeners old and new who looked at the green spaces around them as a way of recovering from stress and escaping the barrage of negative media news .

In uncertain times marked by lockdowns and deaths, gardeners and plants have brought security and a positive everyday life to many. According to the survey, people who have never gardened before tried it and enjoyed it. Experienced gardeners felt that their lifelong passion provided a reliable way out of the pandemic.

The survey revealed that gardeners appreciate many things about their gardens. For many, gardening has been therapeutic and a respite from the stress of the pandemic. Other gardeners found that their gardens had become a place where they could safely socialize.

“Sometimes family members who previously had no interest in gardening would now join in tending the garden,” Lucy Diekmann, urban agriculture and food systems consultant at UC ANR, who helped write the report, said via email. “For others, gardens became a place to connect with neighbors, and food production was another common theme where gardeners were interested in growing more food for themselves and sharing it with their communities.”

Diekmann explained how curious members of her research team were about the apparent boom in gardening in the early months of the pandemic.

“We quickly teamed up to develop a survey that we hoped would capture a comprehensive snapshot of gardeners’ experiences with the pandemic and give us a better understanding of the pandemic gardening phenomenon,” said Diekmann. “As researchers, each of us had previously studied different aspects of gardening – its impact on health, food security, social bonding – and we were also curious to see how these aspects of gardening play out in the context of a global pandemic.”

Alessandro Ossola, assistant professor of urban plant science in the UC Davis Department of Plant Science, explained the three key findings of the social survey. First, most respondents were middle-aged women from an educated background. However, many young people were trying gardening for the first time, suggesting that urban farming still has the potential to attract younger generations.

“Unfortunately, people from more disadvantaged backgrounds did not respond to the survey, possibly because they are not engaged in gardening or because [they] were concerned about how they might find jobs during the layoffs,” Ossola said via email.

Second, the researchers found that the top reasons for gardening were to better connect with nature and get away from daily stress. The garden became “a sanctuary that even birds felt louder in,” as one respondent put it.

Closeness to nature, relaxation and stress reduction were by far the most common reasons given by gardeners. Some of them did this alone in their backyards and balconies. Others saw gardening as an opportunity to socialize and network safely in community and allotment gardens. In several instances, people reported persuading family members and friends to garden in some sort of collective movement and sharing positive experiences in coping with the uncertainties of COVID.

Third, some gardeners were moved for altruistic reasons. As a home gardener from Stockton, California said, “Owning 5 acres, I realized that if there was a great need I could provide some food for my community. I never really thought about doing that before.” Ossola detailed how the pandemic has often transformed people for the better, and gardening has made that possible.

“Our findings reinforce recent research into the incredible benefits that urban nature and green spaces can have for individuals and communities. personal well-being, public health benefits and environmental awareness,” said Ossola.

Given the health and well-being benefits of gardening, the researchers hope this study will encourage local governments, nonprofits, and others to increase access to gardens by providing space and support for gardening. Access to green spaces at large is often unequal, so using a justice lens to expand gardening opportunities is especially important.

“Hopefully the end of COVID is getting closer [is] It’s still hard to predict what will happen to gardening when people get back to their busy lives,” Ossola said.

Written by: Monica Manmadkar — science@theaggie.org

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