Gardening can relieve human stress and boost nature connection during the COVID-19 pandemic

Urban For Urban Green. 2022 Feb:68:127483. doi: 10.1016/j.ufug.2022.127483. Epub 2022 Jan 19.


The COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted social life. Gardens and yards have seemingly risen as a lifeline during the pandemic. Here, we investigated the relationship between people and gardening during the COVID-19 pandemic and what factors influenced the ability of people to garden. We examined survey responses (n = 3,743) from gardeners who reported how the pandemic had affected personal motivations to garden and their use of their gardens, alongside pandemic-related challenges, such as food access during the first wave of COVID-19 (May-Aug 2020). The results show that for the respondents, gardening was overwhelmingly important for nature connection, individual stress release, outdoor physical activity and food provision. The importance of food provision and economic security were also important for those facing greater hardships from the pandemic. While the literature on gardening has long shown the multiple benefits of gardening, we report on these benefits during a global pandemic. More research is needed to capture variations in public sentiment and practice - including those who do little gardening, have less access to land, and reside in low-income communities particularly in the global south. Nevertheless, we argue that gardening can be a public health strategy, readily accessible to boost societal resilience to disturbances.

Keywords: Food systems; Landscape planning; Public health; Urban agriculture; Urban greening.