Did you know that spending some time each day growing vegetables actually makes you happier than doing sport? A study carried out by Princeton University showed that gardening is good for the soul: it improves happiness and emotional wellbeing just as much as physical exercise or eating out. Find out how growing – and then eating! – your own veggies can improve your physical and emotional health.
One of the main causes of burnout among veterinarians and nursing assistants is stress and their difficulty in emotionally detaching from the intense experiences of the day at the clinic.
In addition to practicing a sport that improves our physical health, it’s a good idea to have a hobby that is not work-related in order to disconnect. Is it possible to combine the two benefits in a single activity? Of course it is. Growing your own vegetable garden!
If you’ve always lived in the countryside, this article may not be for you. You probably still lend a hand in your parents’ or grandparents’ garden in your spare time or at weekends. What are we going to tell you about gardens, right? Nothing you don’t already know.
In this article, we’re going to share the advantages of participating in an urban garden with all those veterinarians and assistants who live in big cities and don’t have the luxury of a home garden.
Will you join us?
Urban gardens, a fashion on the rise around the world
Growing your own vegetables for self-consumption has become fashionable all over the world, even in northern European countries, in North America or in parts of Asia where the climate is not as mild as in the south.
The various economic crises, global warming, sustainability awareness and greater knowledge of the pesticides used in factory farming have been important motivators for wanting to grow at least some of our food more organically and cheaply.
Fortunately, regional and local governments are responding to the increasing demand for gardening spaces in large cities. They promote these initiatives by making city land available and authorizing rooftop plots for growing. These gardens not only improve the environment but also give oxygen to cities and reduce the environmental costs of traditional gardening.
In southern Europe, the urban gardening boom is reaching spectacular figures and large cities such as Bologna, Milan, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid and Seville have thousands of plots of land available to user associations for their management. In Spain alone, the number of urban gardens reached 50,000 in 2019.
Northern countries are not far behind. Berlin has been a pioneer in the creation of self-cultivation spaces and has large areas for rent. In Poland, 965,000 community gardens are registered in cities such as Katowice, Kraków, Wroclaw and Warsaw.
In Switzerland, 900,000 people work 50,000 hectares where they grow various fruits and vegetables. The Swiss have come up with a wonderful project called the Garden Sharing Project, from horterre.ch, whose motto is “Looking for a garden, sharing a garden”. The idea is to bring together garden owners in need of a helping hand with people looking for a place to plant and grow their own food.
Why is gardening so appealing? Discover its 9 benefits
If so many people are into urban gardening, they must be getting something good out of it, right?
The study “Is gardening associated with greater happiness of urban residents?” by Amu Ramaswami et al. of Princeton University confirmed that, unlike ornamental gardening, growing fruit and vegetables increases our health and well-being.
The explanation lies in the fact that being a part-time vegetable farmer brings us the following benefits:
- We give more value to what we eat since we’ve obtained it with our own effort and dedication.
- We learn to recycle the organic waste generated at home.
- It serves as a distraction and a hobby.
- It reduces stress and anxiety and takes our minds off problems: it seems impossible, but manual work helps us to keep our minds blank or occupied only with what we are “working on”.
- It favours concentration and increases relaxation.
- In the community gardens, we interact with other people and share our experiences and leftover products. This reduces the feeling of loneliness and fosters social bonds.
- It helps to improve people’s health by eating more fresh fruit and vegetables. As urban gardens are organically cultivated, in addition to the benefits of eating vegetables, we avoid the potentially carcinogenic chemicals of large-scale agriculture.
- It forces us to get a good dose of exercise and fresh air!
- It improves emotional well-being and therefore reinforces healthy habits.
If these 9 compelling reasons haven’t convinced you, the tenth one is a tip for all vet and vet assistant mums and dads. As animal lovers, you surely teach your kids to love nature, eat healthy and organic food, respect the planet and take responsibility for themselves and the environment, don’t you?
Get the kids in the garden and the fun is guaranteed: they’ll get their hands dirty digging around for bugs, have a water fight with the hose and will eat the raspberries or tomatoes while you’re not looking.
Is there a better way to spend summer afternoons in a big city?