with the local food movement growing. But gardening can have more of an impact on those who practice it than just the harvest at the end of the season. Most who garden, will express a deep connection with the earth. They are drawn to gardening because tending to the soil is calming, because feeling the earth in your hands is playful, and this type of "work" can replace an aspect that is missing in our technological lives today. As James Jiler, the founder and executive director of Urban GreenWorks says, gardening "allows people to connect to this primal state". Gardeners of all ages and backgrounds can tell you this pastime creates a beautiful connection with our Earth!
Besides this relationship, there are many other benefits to gardening that seem to be a little more tangible. Gardening has been found to reduce stress, even better than other leisure activities in many studies (CNN Health). It provides an outlet and allows our mind to wander in "effortless attention" rather than being pulled in a million ways at once. This aspect has been tied to relieving symptoms of depression and other mood disorders. As you might have guessed, gardening is also a form of exercise. It gets your blood flowing and you could even work up a sweat! You also have the added bonus of being outdoors in the sunshine which is always a mood booster.
Finally, it comes full circle. As gardening allows us to connect to our Earth it allows us to build a strong connection with the food we eat. "When you commit time, effort and money to caring for your plants, you naturally feel a stronger connection to the food they produce than something you just plucked off a grocery store shelf" says Mary Mazzoni, Assistant Editor of Earth911. This goes a long way to improving our nutritional values and our everyday food choices. Not to mention the fruits and veggies that will grow in a home garden will often taste better and be packed with more vitamins than those from the store.
Gardening is an all around good! It gets us in touch with our Earth and lets us enjoy the fruits- and veggies- of our labor, while promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Here's to wishing you a happy harvest and the motivation to get out and garden!