Growing Things: Don't discount the health benefits of gardening

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Sometimes things just pop up in my email that grab my attention.

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One of the latest talked about doctors prescribing gardening.

Yes, you read that correctly. Green prescriptions are becoming a worldwide phenomenon.

For example, New Zealand has been using green prescriptions since the ’90s and is now a recognized part of their health program.

The UK spent more than $5.2 million (CAD) on a green prescription program in its post-COVID-19 recovery program.

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Doctors in Japan have been prescribing ‘forest bathing’ since 1982 and the list continues to grow.

Parks Canada says it’s backing a nature prescription program in B.C., Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba so doctors and nurses can prescribe a Parks Canada

Discovery Pass to patients suffering mental and physical health problems.

Dr. Guy Pelletier, a clinical psychologist at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary says, “Exposure to nature and green things is very beneficial to people. There’s pretty good documentation on how sunlight and nature can help with depression. People also sleep better when they’ve been out in nature and working in the sun, which is also important.”

Salisbury Greenhouse has a great blog on the health benefits of gardening. The one health benefit you can’t measure that I can relate to in this blog is how gardening connects us to the earth. That connection brings with it an affirmation of our connection to nature. That connection brings me peace and calmness.

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When I started researching this topic a few years ago I was stunned at how much information was available on the therapeutic benefits of gardening and nature. Now medicine is using nature as a prescription therapy.

I think we all have known for a long time the health benefits of gardening and growing your own produce. The exercise portion of gardening combined with the relaxation therapy it provides and if you are growing your own food the benefits of healthy produce all combine to make this a winning prescription for health.


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