The Importance of Gardening (Food, Habitat, Eco Footprint…)

I can tell you why gardening is important to me. It is simple: it keeps me sane, it keeps me happy, and it keeps me well fed. Gardening is my go-to for happy days, sad days, days when I need to keep occupied… there is always a good time for a productive gardening session, but this got me thinking a bit more about the actual functionality behind it.

Why doesn’t gardening mean the same thing to everyone? Why is gardening considered to be important, yet not many people actually garden? Is there a specific reason why each of us should think about gardening, or is it just something we do to pass the time and grow a few veggies we can put on our plates?

Gardening is important for reducing human carbon and eco footprints, food production, increasing property value, and providing somewhat of a lifeline for plants and animals that are becoming victims of human development. 

With the human population exploding, native habitats being encroached on, wildlife and their food sources dwindling, and food security problems cropping up across the globe; it is evident that home gardening can play a role in providing a lifeline to birds, insects, and wildlife that would otherwise vanish.

As an avid gardener, I am pleased to know that I am doing my bit for the environment. I also feel good about the fact that I am helping the creatures and critters that the human race seems to be driving out of their natural habitat in some small way. Of course, if you are not a gardener yet, it is never too late to start.

Let’s take a closer look at the importance of gardening and how you can go about benefiting from a home garden, while doing your bit for the environment and reducing your carbon footprint. How? Read on. 

The Importance of Gardening & the Associated Benefits

Statistics show that the human population is putting a massive strain on the environment. Millions of acres of natural habitat are destroyed every year to create space for grazing (animal agriculture), housing, commercial properties, and industrial properties too. As these habitats are destroyed, so are the homes of many birds, insects, and much larger species of wildlife, too, such as Orangutans and similar.

If you want to give back to the environment, you may feel like you are fighting a losing battle. You cannot change the world, but small change can begin at home and have somewhat of a butterfly effect. So, let’s find out 4 ways gardening can be great for the environment, but benefit you too. 

1. Gardening is important because it provides food security to your family.

It is convenient to go to the store, but what if you fall on hard times or a storm strikes, and you cannot get to the store? By keeping a home garden, you can tend vegetables, herbs, and fruits that will provide a decent amount of food to your family. Not only will you have high food security, but you will save money on grocery shopping too. 

2. Gardening is important because it provides a small piece of “home” territory for birds, insects, and wildlife in your area.

Who does not want birds chirping in their backyard or bees flying around pollinating their plants and bringing beauty to their outdoor space? By creating a home garden, you can help to reintroduce creatures and plants to your area that have been destroyed by construction and development. Think of birds, butterflies, crickets, and other harmless beetles and bugs that also deserve a great place to live.

3. Gardening is important because it reduces your carbon (and eco) footprint.

If you think about it, the amount of carbon produced to transport your food from the farm, all the way to the supermarket and then to your house is quite high. By growing your own vegetables, fruits, and herbs, you are eliminating that carbon production and thus reducing your personal carbon footprint. Another reason why gardening reduces carbon is by absorbing carbon dioxide from the air and converting it into good, clean, life-supporting air. 

4. Gardening increases the value of your property.

When you plant and nurture a garden, you improve on your property’s curb appeal, which in turn means that you can sell the property for more, should you ever wish to relocate. Properties with gardens statistically sell for higher values than houses without them or with gardens that have been neglected.

What to Do | What Can Newbie Gardeners Do To Support the Environment?

Gardening is, of course, important, but what you do in your garden is what makes all the difference. There are several things that you can do in your garden to truly do your bit. These include: 

  • Adding indigenous plants to your garden space. Indigenous plants provide the carbon-reducing benefits you are after but require far less water than exotic plants do. 
  • Inviting pollinators to your garden by providing an environment that they are most likely to enjoy.
  • Reducing the lawn area in your garden in an attempt to reduce water consumption. 
  • Creating a garden space that supports the needs of wildlife (think of birdbaths and feeders, planting plants that attract bees and insects, for instance).

9 Main Health Benefits of Gardening | Why Gardening is Important for Your Health

Gardening is not only important for the environment and your impact on it. It is also healthy for you to physically get involved in the act of gardening. Below are a few of the health benefits of gardening:

1. Good exercise.

Exercise is essential for staying in shape and for good heart health too. If you are not driven to go to the gym and work out regularly, and you are not too keen on going for walks and runs, you can get all the exercise you need at home. Gardening chores provide decent exercise due to all the walking, lifting, mowing, weeding, and so on. 

2. Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is essential to health. It is important for promoting bone growth and helping the body absorb calcium. Most people get their vitamin D from a supplement if they live in a cold area, but you can also get it from sun exposure. 15 minutes of sunshine per day should be enough to boost your vitamin D levels. Time spent in the garden provides an opportunity for you to get a good dose of vitamin D.

3. Healthy Diet.

If you have vegetables growing in your garden, chances are that you are going to save the money and opt for eating your own produce rather than eating out or heading to fast food stores. Growing your own vegetables and fruit ensures that you have access to a healthy diet. 

4. Immune System Boost.

Did you know that getting dirty is good for your health? And gardening will get you just the right amount of dirty. Digging in the dirt exposes you to healthy bacteria, which boosts your immune system

5. Healthy Dose of Endorphins.

Gardening can boost your endorphins levels, which leave you feeling good. Endorphins are great for overcoming mood swings, depression, and feelings of boredom. 

6. Weight Loss.

To lose weight, you need to eat a healthy calorie balanced diet (the veggies from your garden will help with that), and you need to get moving. The more you move, the more calories you burn and the more weight you can lose. The trick is to move enough to burn more calories than you consume. The constant movement involved in gardening burns calories, which boosts weight loss. 

7. Stress Reduction.

Focusing on gardening can reduce stress and anxiety levels exponentially. To reduce stress, most people head to the spa or to the gym. A distraction from everyday tasks and chores that promote relaxation can put both stress and anxiety in their place. 

8. Live Mindfully.

The act of gardening promotes the practice of mindfulness. Living mindfully is the art of living in the moment and truly engaging with the activity at hand. By living mindfully, you get to cut out all the clutter in your mind and get to derive real value from every situation and encounter in your life. 

9. Lowered Risk of Dementia.

As we age, the fear of dementia and other mental health issues becomes more real. Many people have managed to keep their minds healthy by keeping them active and engaging in activities that give the brain a workout. After all, the brain is an organ of the body and needs to be exercised, too, if you want it to remain in good health. 

Gardening may lower your risk of dementia as it keeps the mind active and working not only while you are in the garden, but in between sessions too.  

On the whole

With so many personal health benefits and benefits to the environment, too, can you really justify not having your own home garden? Creating a little piece of natural heaven in your own backyard is the perfect way to give back to nature and do your bit for the environment. When it comes to gardening, the importance thereof is undeniable. 

While not every home can feature a garden, if you have the space and the drive to create a garden, you most certainly should.