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Gardening for Good Health

Gardeners often express to us the benefits they experience when they are connecting with their gardens and engaging with nature. Gardens and parks can be our go-to place when we need perking up.

Pandemic Gardening: A wish for tomorrow
Findings from the national survey


Thousands of Australians are finding solace, satisfaction, delicious produce and connection to nature by growing their own food under the duress of COVID-19. This is the overwhelming message delivered by over 9000 respondents to the inaugural Pandemic Gardening survey, conducted by Sustain: The Australian Food Network, during June-July 2020.
 
 Much like the goals of Community Greening, Sustain works for the transition to a food system that supports flourishing communities, individuals and ecosystems.

Over 70 percent of the survey respondents said growing food had significantly or greatly improved their mental health, while over 80 percent said gardening during the COVID-19 period had been very important to them.
 
​Growing their own food was therapeutic for respondents living with or recovering from cancer, those suffering post- traumatic stress disorder and various other physical and psychological health challenges.

Respondents also said edible gardening was important to food security during the increasingly tough economic conditions, providing access to fresh fruit and vegetables without the need to go to the shops.

Gardeners benefited from the social connection of chatting with neighbours over the fence or with fellow community gardeners, although that has been curtailed in areas locked down by COVID restrictions.

A Sustain representative said, “As thousands of respondents commented, COVID-19 has provided us with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to move Australia in the direction of greater fairness and sustainability – and it can all start with more of us growing more of our own food.”

Our community gardeners have shared with us how gardening has improved their health and contributed their thoughts to the Sustain survey about gardening through the pandemic. Contact the Community Greening team if your wish for tomorrow is to learn more about growing food sustainably and benefiting from time spent in a garden.

 

Here Community Greening Officer Elizabeth Docking's shares her personal experience of how gardening has created new connections during the Covid pandemic

Gardening and mental health

 

Community gardeners June and Colin James have shared with us how gardens have helped them deal with depression in the video below. While June and Colin have found relief from mental health, other gardeners have experienced a sense of accomplishment, hope and improved physical health from spending time in a garden.

Community Greening is working on a digital project called ‘Gardening for Good Health’ and we would love your contribution. We welcome you to share how you have experienced benefits for your body, mind, personal growth and community connection through gardening.

Thanks for Sharing!

 

Last month we asked you to ‘Tell us how you have experienced the benefits of gardening’ in 30 words or less, considering your mind, body, your personal growth and how a garden has helped you connect with your community. 

Through this  invitation, we received some stories from community gardeners that were quite special. We truly appreciate how much gardening has assisted your mental and physical health over many years and particularly during the pandemic. We also gained a better understanding of our gardeners, so we in turn can be helping you through your lives and gardening journeys. 

Thank you so much to all participants for sharing your stories and a special thanks to our winner Katherine from Bonnyrigg who shared how gardening has been beneficial for her and her children. 
 

 Photo: Presentation to Katherine by Elizabeth
Photo credit: Jasmina Kustec 



Katherine said, ‘Two of my 3 young children have autism and the garden has become our special place. The children can concentrate very well on garden tasks, they work together and are using their fine motor skills. My children love worms, flowers and the insects they watch in the garden. As a mum who struggles to get them to eat vegetables, I love that they will eat the vegetables we grow. The first pumpkin they would eat was one we grew, and we are looking forward to growing more!’

The Gardening for Good Health digital project is now complete (see below) and a special thanks to Royal Botanic Gardens educator Joelle Breault-Hood for her valuable contribution to the content of the page. Thanks also to our 5 video stars Rosa, Christine, June, Colin and Bradley. You were all so open and obliging and a pleasure to film. Jonnie Swift and Christina McGhee polished the videos with some fine video editing and my thanks go to you as well.

Finally, I will share one of my favourite quotes from my Gardening for Good Health workshops: ‘Gardening is a medicine that does not need a prescription and has no limit on dosage.’ Author unknown. 

Keep enjoying the many benefits of a garden!

- Elizabeth Docking Community Greening officer

Remember if you or anyone you know need help call Lifeline Crisis Supporters 13 11 14

  

Quotes

 

Here you will find some quotes from entrants about Gardening for Good Health. 

1  -   4  OF   17

Here you will find videos of community gardeners sharing how gardening has been beneficial in their lives 

Gardening for personal growth

Gardening and building communities

Gardening and physical health