Growing for Wellbeing Week 2022 Monday 6th – Sunday 12th June

Gardening and growing to boost physical and mental health

Every single year, one in four people will experience mental ill health[i], and an estimated five children in every classroom have a mental health problem[ii]. But many people don’t think of gardening as something that will help, but it really can!

“Gardening adds years to your life and life to your years”

We don’t know who to credit this quote to, but it says a lot about the effect gardening and growing your own fruit and veg can do for your physical and mental health. It’s becoming more and more obvious that having green fingers can improve health and wellbeing. Aside from being outdoors and getting a good dose of Vitamin D, it can also help to:

  • Reduce stress-levels
  • Relieve some symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Boost self-confidence
  • Increase activity levels (yes, really – apparently mowing the lawn is classed as aerobic exercise…)
  • Help to develop a ‘growth mindset’ (more about this below)
  • Provide a real sense of achievement

And that’s what National Growing for Wellbeing is all about. Launched by Life at No.27, it’s an annual celebration of the positive impact that growing your own plants, herbs, fruits, and vegetables can have on your wellbeing.

A 2020 study by Sheffield University showed that for the participants, gardening and growing had ‘quite a wide spectrum of mental health benefits’ which included having high levels of social activity and community involvement, feeling connected to the seasons, and finding the joy in weather.

Locally, Human Nature Escapes CIC use Social Therapeutic Horticulture (STH) to help health and wellbeing; promoting positive thinking and creating a sense of healing through growing and nurturing green spaces. Have a look at their Community Gardening project to get a sense of what they get up to.

Another great example is Root ‘n’ Fruit, a community food initiative in Middleport, Stoke-on-Trent. They connect with schools, businesses, and people in the local community to help them to learn about, grow, eat, and cook many different fruits and vegetables. As well as being a fresh-food bank, the group also provides gardening clubs and activities for the community to support healthy living and promote green exercise leading to positive short- and long-term health outcomes.

It’s official: allotments are good for you and for your mental health, an article from The Guardian, highlights the benefits of gardening and growing for wellbeing through interviews with keen gardeners. They show the community that gardening can create, whether that’s in an allotment, a front garden, or a local green space.

Community gardening can also contribute to developing a ‘growth mindset’ which Wood Lane Primary School in Stoke-on-Trent has summed up perfectly:

  • We celebrate making mistakes – we can learn from them
  • We never give up – perseverance is the key if we are to succeed
  • We learn from each other
  • We don’t compare ourselves with others
  • We challenge ourselves and take risks
  • We remember that our brains are making new connections and growing all the time.

Simply being outdoors is good for the body and for the mind. Throw gardening and growing into the mix and it can be a great way to relieve stress, get a real boost in self-belief, a great sense of achievement, and can create meaningful interactions with friends, family, and the community, which is hugely beneficial, particularly those who are, or at risk of becoming, lonely or isolated.

 

Other local ‘green’ groups include:

 

 

[i] MHFA England
[ii] Young Minds Charity

 

Categorised in:

Font Resize
Contrast