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Science proves what our grandparents already knew – gardening is good for our health.

The University of Tokyo in a 2016 meta-analysis of research set out to see if the growing belief that gardening has proven health benefits can be supported by science. In their conclusion they stated “there is robust evidence for the positive effects of gardening.” Now this is not new news to our older relatives. Years ago everyone had gardens, backyard fruit trees and often chickens, there was no option to duck down to the supermarket and grab something for dinner.

Today with urban migration moving at a rapid rate (where we live, in a major Australian city there are 350 people moving here a day) the garden has been replaced with indoor living. Our lives can now so easily be carried out without leaving our front doors. Many of us work at home; we can have food delivered to us, we have gyms, coffee, supermarkets at the bottom of where we live. It could be days before we needed to step outside.

Country air has always been proclaimed as having therapeutic benefits so in a city where can we go to find some green space and more importantly what can we do for ourselves to get some green into our own lives?

Here’s 5 suggestions:

1. Start small!  Often we latch onto a new experience and go all out only to fade before we have really started.

2. Explore your local council website. They usually have a parks and recreation section that will list community gardens in your area. Go visit one and have a look how things happen, you will find they don’t all look picture perfect, often scrambly and held together with an assortment of timber and wire. Our council will even set up for you a large timber planting box on the footpath out front of your door for only a small fee. If this is for you put your name down to be allocated a plot.

3.  Browse the garden section in your bookshop or library (also a good place to feel connected to your local community) and get yourself a “how to guide.” Follow some garden feeds on Instagram or Facebook. Some great resources to start with are The Edible Balcony by Indira Naidoo and the Little Vegie patch Co – The 1 Minute Gardener.

4. Take a stroll around your neighbourhood, peer over front fences and down back lanes and see what’s growing.

5. Go back to start small – Stand outside or on your balcony and look around. Find a spot that gets some sun and you can put some pots or you can dig a small patch up in your backyard.  Go to your nearest plant selling store and buy some potting mix, herbs and a few leafy greens, ( hint here, only plant what you will like to eat). Make holes, push plants into the dirt with your bare hands, water in (remember to keep the water up) and wait and watch, you will be surprised how quickly you will be able to pick yourself something green.

At our place (with only a small courtyard garden and multiple pots and not too much sun) we successfully grow a range of green leafy veg and herbs and we always try and make sure we have something from our garden in most of our meals. A few spinach leaves and mint and parsley in morning smoothies.. Parsley, dill, oregano in scrambled eggs. Salad leaves in our lunch bowl. Broccoli with everything.

Getting outside and getting our hands into soil or our feet on the grass grounds us, puts us into the moment and gives us opportunities to be mindful and productive.  We bend and dig and carry which are all ways that we are adding more movement into our day. You also get the added benefit of handling dirt and being in the sun both ways to improve our health by strengthening our immune system (read about the “hygiene hypothesis” – where our obsession with cleanliness is leading to increased inflammatory diseases).

So no more excuses – get growing.

Go gardening and you too will learn what our grandparents knew, gardening is good for our mind our body and our soul, we don’t need science to tell us that.

Until next time, be Powerful.

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