<gardening was almost like biking, walking or dining out princeton university research>
July 13, 2020 • jainendra joshi • MEDICAL AND HEALTH


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


The researchers found that, across the study’s population, the extent of emotional well-being, or

happiness, reported while gardening was almost like what people reported while biking, walking or dining

out, consistent with a study published within the journal Landscape and concrete Planning. Home

gardening was the sole activity out of the 15 studied that women and other people with low incomes

reported higher emotional well-being than men and medium- and high-income participants, respectively.

370 Total Participants/118 those that garden at home/31% Gardening /19% Biking/85% Walking/At least

once per week/Percent of participants engaged in activitiy/*Top 5 Actvities by Net Affect Score (Net affect

score is that the average of positive emotions minus the typical of negative emotions during an

activity/(bar graph comparing Leisure/Recreation; Eating Out; Biking; Gardening; Walking/Gardening is in

top 5 out of 15 activities assessed and isn't statistically different from biking, walking, and eating out

“This has implications for equity in food action planning considering that folks with lower incomes tend to

possess 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

therefore the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI).

The benefits of gardening on happiness were similar across racial boundaries and between urban and

suburban areas, said first author Graham Ambrose, a search specialist in Princeton’s Department of Civil

and Environmental Engineering. additionally , whether people gardened alone or with others made no

difference, and other people who kept vegetable gardens reported a better level of average emotional

well-being than people that worked in ornamental gardens.

Time spent gardnening per week/1HR 26 MIN/30 MIN BIKING/1HR 41 MIN Walking/Average emotional

scores by (bar graph): Gardener type vegetable vs ornamental/Household Income: low, medium,

high/Gender: Male v. female

The findings came from a study of 370 people within the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area that

people used a cellphone app called Daynamica to report their emotional well-being while engaged in any

of 15 daily activities.

3 key takeaways: Household gradening is related to high emotional well-being, almost like biking and

walking/Vegetable gardening is related to higher emaotional well-being than ornamental

gardening/Household gardening is that the only activity where women and low-income participants report

the very best emotional well-being/Source: "Is gardening related to greater happiness of urban residents?

While the social and environmental benefits of community gardens are

hot topics in urban research, available data seem to come short when it involves gardening in individual

households, Ambrose said.

“People know where community gardeners garden, but it's hard to understand who is gardening reception

, which our group uniquely identified,” Ambrose said. for instance , study authors found that 31% of

participants engaged in home gardening for about 90 minutes per week on the average , compared to

19% who engaging in biking (an average of half-hour each week) and 85% who walked (an average of 1

hour and 40 minutes each week).

“Many more people garden than we expect and it appears that it associates with higher levels of

happiness almost like walking and biking,” Ramaswami said. “In the movement to form cities more

livable, gardening could be an enormous a part of improving quality-of-life.”


“The high levels of meaningfulness that respondents reported while gardening could be related to

producing one’s own food,” Ambrose said. “The boost to emotional well-being is like other leisure

activities that currently get the lion’s share of infrastructure investment. These finding suggest that, when

choosing future well-being projects to fund, we should always pay even as much attention to household


A few cities have conducted pilot household gardening projects with promising results. for instance , a

project operated by the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh provided participants

with materials and training to start out a garden reception .

The researchers of the present study decide to replicate this work among community gardeners so as to

match the emotional advantage of household gardens versus community gardens, Ramaswami said.


The paper, “Is gardening related to greater happiness of urban residents? A multi-activity, dynamic

assessment within the Twin-Cities region, USA,” was published within the June 2020 issue of Landscape

and concrete Planning.