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Beyond Productivity: Considering the Health, Social Value and Happiness of Home and Community Food Gardens

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School of Natural & Built Environments, Mawson Lakes Campus, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA 5095, Australia
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School of Information Technology and Mathematical Sciences, City West Campus, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia
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School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, City East Campus, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(4), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci2040097
Received: 7 September 2018 / Revised: 18 September 2018 / Accepted: 19 September 2018 / Published: 20 September 2018
We are living in an age of concern for mental health and wellbeing. The objective of the research presented in this paper is to investigate the perceived health, social value and happiness benefits of urban agriculture (UA) by focusing on home and community food gardens in South Australia. The results reported in this paper are from “Edible Gardens”, a citizen science project designed to investigate the social value, productivity and resource efficiency of UA in South Australia. Methods include an online survey and in-field garden data collection. Key findings include: dominant home gardener motivations were the produce, enjoyment, and health, while dominant community gardener motivations were enjoyment, connection to others and the produce. Exploratory factor analysis revealed four key factors: Tranquillity and Timeout, Develop and Learn Skills, the Produce, and Social Connection. The key difference between home and community gardeners was an overall social connection. Although home gardeners did not appear to actively value or desire inter-household social connection, this does not mean they do not value or participate in other avenues of social connection, such as via social learning sources or by sharing food with others. The combined results from this research regarding health and wellbeing, social connection and happiness support the premise that engagement in home or community food gardening may provide a preventative or supportive role for gardener health and wellbeing, regardless of whether it is a conscious motivation for participation. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban agriculture; urban food production; health; mental health; wellbeing; South Australia; social capital; social value; home gardens; community gardens urban agriculture; urban food production; health; mental health; wellbeing; South Australia; social capital; social value; home gardens; community gardens
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Pollard, G.; Roetman, P.; Ward, J.; Chiera, B.; Mantzioris, E. Beyond Productivity: Considering the Health, Social Value and Happiness of Home and Community Food Gardens. Urban Sci. 2018, 2, 97.

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