Gardening’s Benefits (05-08-20)

Research by Ambrose and colleagues confirms the psychological benefits of gardening and supports the allocation of space to it.  The investigators studied data collected in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area: “five measures of EWB [emotional wellbeing] were computed for each participant for each activity type [while doing that activity]: average net affect, average happiness, average meaningfulness, the frequency of experiencing peak positive emotions (happiness and meaningfulness). Among all three average EWB measures, gardening is among the top 5 out of 15 activities assessed, and, is not statistically different from biking, walking and eating out. All four of these activities fall behind other leisure/recreation activities, which ranks first. . . . Average net affect of gardening was significantly higher for vegetable gardeners (vs ornamental), for low-income gardeners (vs higher income) and for women. . . . household vegetable gardening should be considered amongst other livability investments, such as biking and walking infrastructure, in cities. Additionally, backyard gardening alone may provide EWB benefits similar to the purported EWB benefits of community gardens, thus both should be considered as cities address livability investments.”

Graham Ambrose, Kirti Das, Yingling Fan, and Anu Ramaswami.  2020.  “Is Gardening Associated with Greater Happiness of Urban Residents?  A Multi-Activity, Dynamic Assessment in the Twin-Cities Region, USA.”  Landscape and Urban Planning, vol. 198, no. 103776,