In this two-part series, Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners and Master Food Volunteers explore our evolving understanding of the benefits of gardening to physical and mental well-being, and demonstrate how to prepare tasty and nutritious food with easy to grow ingredients.
Since ancient times, the therapeutic benefits of gardening and connecting with nature have been recognized, but only in recent times scientific data have been available to support this. In Part 1 of this series, Extension Master Gardeners Tricia Rodgers and Anne Wilson discuss how gardening has been used throughout history to promote health and healing, and how participants can reap both the physical and mental health benefits of digging in the dirt.
Zoom session, recorded April 22, 2022
For Further Reading – Part 1 – Resource Sheet
History of Gardening as Therapy, and Social and Emotional Benefits
- Blake, Marianne, and Gary Mitchell. 2016. Horticulture Therapy in Dementia Care: A Literature Review. Nursing Standard. January 20; 30(21)41-7
- Collins, C.C. 2008. “Impact of Horticultural Responsibility on Health Indicators and Quality of Life in Assisted Living,” Horticulture Technology. Vol 18.
- Haller, Rebecca, Karen Kennedy, and Christine Capra. 2019. The Profession and Practice of Horticulture Therapy. CRC Press.
- Helphand, Kenneth I. 2006. Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime. Trinity University Press
- Kaplan, Rachel and Stephen Kaplan. 1989. The Experience of Nature: A Psychological Perspective. Cambridge University Press.
- Leavitt, Sarah A. 2019. St. Elizabeths in Washington, D.C.: Architecture of an Asylum. The History Press.
- Lewis, Charles A. 2006. Green Nature, Human Nature: The Meaning of Plants in Our Lives. University of Illinois Press
- Richard Louve, Richard. 2009. Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder. Algonquin Books.
- Rodiek, Susan. 2002. “Influence of an Outdoor Garden on Mood and Stress in Older Persons.” Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture. Volume XIII, 13-21.
- Siu, Andrew, Michaelkim and Ida Mok. 2002.“Horticulture Therapy Program for People with Mental Illness: A Mixed-Method Evaluation.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. February; 17(3):711
- Smith-Stuart, Sue. 2020. The Well-Gardened Mind: The Restorative Power of Nature. Scribner.
- Soga, Masashi, Kevin Gaston, and Yuichi Yamaura. 2017. “Gardening is Beneficial for Health: A Meta-Analysis.” Preventive Medicine Reports. March; 5:92-99.
Physiological Benefits of Gardening
- Beatley, T., and C.C. Konijnendijk. 2018. “Urban landscapes for public health.” In: Bird, W. & van den Bosch, M. (Eds.), Nature and Public Health: The Role of Nature in Improving the Health of a Population. Series 2015. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
- Christopher J. Schell, et al. 2020. “The ecological and evolutionary consequences of systemic racism in urban environments.” Sept. 18. University of Illinois.
- Do’s and Don’ts to Avoid Injury While Gardening. 2019. Encore Physical Therapy.
- Konijnendijk, Cecil C. 2008. The Forest and the City: The Cultural Landscape of Urban Woodland. Springer Books.
- Lafortezza, R, and C.C. Konijnendijk. 2018 “Green Infrastructure – Approach and Link to Public Health Benefits.” In: Bird, W. & van den Bosch, M. (Eds.), Nature and Public Health: The Role of Nature in Improving the Health of a Population. Series 2015. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Sources for Additional Information
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Atlanta Georgia USA
- Chalmers University of Technology – Gothenburg, Sweden
- Intelligent Health – Basel, Switzerland
- Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore MD, USA
- National Center for Biotechnology Information
- National Institute of Mental Health
- National Institutes of Health
- Royal College of Physicians – London, UK