Allotment gardening offers benefits that help to ameliorate loneliness has been of particular importance during this pandemic period enabling people to manage and maintain their sites whilst talking to other allotment holders, allowing them to share their knowledge and spare produce. The social contact offered by gardening in an allotment environment helps to combat loneliness, which has the equivalent risk to health as consuming 15 cigarettes daily and is twice as harmful as obesity.
Mental well being
There is a growing awareness gardening plays in both preventing and alleviating mental ill-health. Many allotment gardeners will tell you that a spell on the plot nurturing plants and contemplating nature makes them feel calmer and more hopeful.
The physical benefits of regular spells of gardening help plot-holders to keep fit even if they have sedentary jobs, the physical exercise also contributes to their mental well-being. Gardening can also help to maintain good gait and balance in older gardeners and help with cognitive decline. However, just bear that back in mind and don’t do too much of one thing.
Similarly, allotment gardening has proved invaluable where people could exercise during lockdown and spend time safely distanced but in company with like-minded souls.
Spending time outdoors also helps with maintaining good Vitamin D levels. However, gardeners do need to be aware of skin cancer risks, so make sure that you dress appropriately and wear sunscreen on exposed areas.
Fresh, local, seasonal produce
If managed properly, an allotment can produce enough food to supplement a family's weekly shop, with fresh fruit and vegetables over the year. Allotment gardeners can choose to grow a range of fresh fruit and vegetables, even grow produce that is expensive in the shops!
Sense of achievement
Whilst growing fruit and vegetables requires acquiring new knowledge and skills and patience, the satisfaction gained from eating their first homegrown tomato or new potato makes them taste even more delicious!
Contact with nature
Working a plot year-round means that allotment holders experience the seasons, witness the behaviour of birds, insects and other animals and gain an understanding of the eco-system. This appreciation of the natural world also has the potential to inspire more environmentally aware behaviour by themselves and their children.
So if you’re thinking of having an allotment there’s a whole range of benefits, both physically, mentally and emotionally. Happy digging!
Posted by Jane Morris