Urban cities are often very populated with sparse locations dedicated to nature. Urban life is also very fast-paced. This can be quite intense and hard to sustain over a long period; therefore, people living in urban cities must have spaces that they can go to get a respite. One solution to this issue is large public parks and another is urban gardening. Urban gardening is the process of growing and cultivating, processing and even selling food products in urban areas. Urban gardening is sometimes seen as a part of the possible solutions to food insecurity. On a smaller scale, however, urban gardening is not focused on the distribution of food products but rather cultivating them for personal use.
Urban gardening has several benefits, some of which are mental health-related while others are simply general benefits. Some of the general benefits of urban gardening include:
- Urban gardening is a way to grow food in a smaller space.
- Urban gardening teaches people how to grow food themselves.
- Urban gardening has the potential to reduce food insecurity.
- Urban gardening is a way to learn a new and very useful skill.
- Urban gardening is a way to grow your own food.
- Urban gardening, at least at this scale, is very sustainable.
- Urban gardening gives you the opportunity to grow safer, less genetically modified foods.
- According to Ackerman, urban gardening also has a positive impact on the environment as it helps reduce storm water waste from about 52 percent to 100 percent depending on the type of green roof.
Urban gardening, as earlier mentioned, also has several mental health benefits. Gardening is a soothing practice that many mental health practitioners recommend. Here are a few of the mental health benefits of urban gardening.
- Urban gardening gives you the opportunity to get closer to nature. Nature can be very therapeutic therefore urban gardening is a great way to get natural therapy from nature.
- A large number of people with mental health struggles also struggle with their eating habits. Urban gardening gives you the opportunity to cultivate a healthier relationship with food that is detached from calories.
- Urban gardening is a form of stress relief. The art of gardening is one that helps you feel grounded and present. The feeling of the breeze against your face and the palpable feeling of soil in your hands can help ground people who struggle with staying present.
- A study conducted by Bellows, Anne & Brown, Katherine & Smit, Jac in 2008 called “Health Benefits of Urban Agriculture” showed that urban gardening has several mental health benefits. This study concluded that the benefits of urban gardening include being more calm and relaxed. It also showed that urban gardening helped quiet feelings of anxiety. Urban gardening is also beneficial because it gives people something to do with their hands.
- Urban gardening is also a form of exercise. Exercise releases endorphins which are great for relieving stress and feelings of anxiety. For those who may have a toxic relationship with exercise, urban gardening can be a non-toxic form of exercise.