Sparrow and Finch Gardening A health prescription The city’s vegetable gardens provide more than food

A health prescription The city’s vegetable gardens provide more than food

Sarah Elton receives funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Donald C. Cole is affiliated with the Canadian Association of Food Studies as well as the Canadian Association of Food Studies and Canadian Public Health Association

It’s gardening season, and that means gardeners are getting ready to enjoy their garden-grown produce. But for people who live in cities, urban living could reinforce the notion that gardening is a luxury or even a pastime but they are not essential to living.

In the initial days of the COVID-19 epidemic, supermarkets were allowed to remain open because of the vital role they played in providing food to us. However, the Ontario government had initially stopped community gardens in deference to the fact that gardens also provide us with food. The gardens were later reinstated following popular pressure.

As health professionals with an ongoing fascination with the food system as well as health issues, we’ve observed that contrary to the notion that gardening is a pastime, gardening is essential to our daily lives.

This conclusion was reached through interviews with a variety of gardeners in Toronto and the survey of over 100 people, and a lot of participant observation, which was in this case, gardening in a group. The participants in the study included gardeners as well as community plot gardeners, rooftop gardeners, and even those taking care of food-producing plants in their apartments. Our findings were released in the journal of peer review Food, Culture & Society.

Food production in cities is growing

A community-based vegetable garden located within downtown Toronto. (Sarah Elton) Author supplied

For a garden to produce food, you must be dedicated. You have to be watering and weeding, as well as taking care of raccoons and squirrels that might be able to get at the food first.

It is necessary to purchase seeds and other equipment, and you could pay an expense to the city to gain access to the allotment plot when you don’t have space to grow your own. If the garden you are tending isn’t close to where you live, You should also take into account the time required for transportation. In the end, it is possible that the plant will be unable to grow.

While prices are on the rise even though the produce is plentiful at the supermarket. In order to comprehend the importance of gardening in cities, we asked why people want to garden at all in the first place.

The most popular response was that gardening is thought to improve the health. A retired worker sums up the situation very well:

“In the winter, it’s essential to work out more. In summer, if I do not go to the gym I don’t feel guilty because I’m working out more.”

Other gardeners noticed that the gardening was beneficial to their mental wellbeing. They felt relaxed and calm when they were around the vegetation, and their minds focused. In some instances, the gardens offered participants an incentive to get up in the morning when they had mental health issues.

Many people have said that the plants were also believed as a source of friendship. “I’m living a healthy life because of my garden,” said one participant. Gardening was a factor in their happiness.

Food and security of food

Another reason that people informed that they were gardeners was not surprising, it was to eat. The majority of gardeners have a broad range of edible plants as well, with 31% of the respondents to our survey saying they had between 10 and 20 varieties.

In addition, many gardeners who gave interviews, as well as those who classified as low-income, emphasized how important gardening is for the security of their diet. One gardener who has one small piece of the property of a church said she was able to grow enough food that she no longer had to visit the grocery store during the summer, and this helped the family’s finances.

The people who cultivate food in cities don’t only consume their own produce but also give it to their family and friends. (Pixabay)

Another gardener claimed that he made an enormous contribution to his family’s needs by growing enough vegetables from his plot of land to not only eat during the summer but also keep for winter. One woman also grew organic food she could not purchase at the supermarket.

The people did not just keep this food to themselves, but took it to relatives and friends.

Connection with culture

For gardeners with connections to other cultures and some are newly arrived immigrants, growing the food they eat is a method to have access to the types of foods they grew up with.

“We left but we still want the taste,” one man stated about the reason that he cultivates a variety of spinach that comes from South Asia. When you shop, the veggies — if they are in stock — are costly and don’t taste as fresh.

Our findings are a reflection of the findings of others have discovered regarding the health, cultural and benefits to food security of gardening.

Urban health and gardening

In other words, if the cultivation of food in the gardens of the city is crucial to food security, health and culture, how could gardeners think differently about policymakers?

We believe that gardens are an essential part of our system of food production. Gardens are vital to those who manage themand to those who appear listed on list of waiting for space to plant food in urban areas and who might not have enough space on their own.

In our study, those who own their homes are more likely to state that they’d been cultivating food for longer than 10 years. The most common form of homeownership is an outdoor space in the form of a balcony or yard that others might be unable to access. The pandemic has reminded us that many of our ecological systems are fragile and inequitable in addition, others have discovered how people are turning to gardens in this moment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts