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Mental Health: Gardening Activities


  • Mental health,
  • Social environment,
  • Community,
  • Facilities & organizations,
  • Healthcare facilities,
  • Schools,
  • Workplace,

Gardening activities

Gardening can increase social and mental health, motivation, self-esteem and reduce stress. Research shows that social inclusion and reduced isolation is shown to improve a number of risk factors for chronic disease and cancer.1

Strathmore residents have been increasing environmental citizenship and earth stewardship by teaching children about gardening. 

Ways to get started

  • Partner with local community groups to create garden beds in areas that are accessible to the community.
  • Raise some of the garden beds to waist height to allow those with reduced mobility to participate.
  • Place garden beds close to each other to promote social interaction.
  • Recruit a gardening specialist to provide lessons and demonstrate gardening techniques.1
  • Provide the tools required for gardening.1
  • Decorate and maintain existing community gardens.
  • Work with your municipality to add opportunities for gardening to community plans. Gardening activities can make communities healthier by supporting food systems, natural environments and neighbourhood design.

For further action to promote/improve mental health in your community, see

Multi-component community-wide interventions that increase awareness about and provide opportunities for positive mental health in your community will have greater impact than implementing single, one-off strategies.

Evaluation measures the impact of all the hard work that went into developing a community initiative. Evaluating impact examines:

  1. What you expect to learn or change
  2. What you measure and report
  3. How to measure impact

 What you expect to learn about gardening activities may include:            

  • Learning that the strategy was implemented as planned
  • Increased perception of social connectedness
  • Increased knowledge of and skills in gardening
  • Decreased feelings of loneliness or isolation

References: Gardening

  1. Strout K, Jemison J, O’Brien L, Wihry D, Waterman T. GROW: Green organic vegetable gardens to promote older adult wellness: A feasibility study. J Community Health Nurs. 2017;34(3):115–25.