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Emotional well-being while home gardening similar to other popular activities, study finds

Princeton researchers found that gardening at home had a similar effect on people’s emotional well-being (or happiness) as biking, walking or dining out. The benefits of home gardening were similar across racial boundaries and between urban and suburban residents, and it was the only activity out of the 15 studied for which women and people with low incomes reported the highest emotional well-being. The results suggest that household gardens could be key to providing food security in urban areas and making
Monday, May 11, 2020

By Morgan Kelly, Princeton Environmental Institute

As civic leaders and urban planners work to make cities more sustainable and livable by investing in outdoor spaces and recreational activities such as biking and walking, Princeton researchers have identified the benefit of an activity largely overlooked by policymakers — home gardening.

The researchers found that, across the study’s population, the level of emotional well-being, or happiness, reported while gardening was similar to what people reported while biking, walking or dining out, according to a study published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning. Home gardening was the only activity out of the 15 studied for which women and people with low incomes reported higher emotional well-being than men and medium- and high-income participants, respectively.

“This has implications for equity in food action planning considering that people with lower incomes tend to have less access to healthy food options,” said corresponding author Anu Ramaswami, Princeton’s Sanjay Swani ’87 Professor of India Studies, professor of civil and environmental engineering and the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI). “Gardening could provide the health benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables, promote physical activity, and support emotional well-being, which can reinforce this healthy behavior.”

Read the full story.