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New research shows remarkable benefits of community gardens

New research shows remarkable benefits of community gardens
May 4, 2018

Since its inception in 2000, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney’s Community Greening program has reached more than 100,000 participants in social housing estates across NSW with garden projects in regional areas as far as Bourke, Kempsey, Illawarra, Taree, Albury, Griffith, Lismore and Inverell.

Now, newly released results from a year long research study with Western Sydney University, the first time such data has been collected, is expected to strengthen program outcomes.

The purpose of this study was twofold, to advance the understanding about the impact of community led-gardens on health, wellbeing and sense of community and to better understand the experiences of new community gardeners and how it affects their sense of social inclusion.

The impact of the program on perceived health, wellbeing and social benefits can now be seen as influencing the sense of community and emotional connection for participants.

Community Greening Coordinator, Phillip Pettitt explains “the key takeaway is that we are now equipped with research that supports what we knew - these programs have a direct impact on mental and physical health, a sense of empowerment and pride and positive safety and education messages are being taught too.

“The results are encouraging but there is still more work to do, the next step in our research is to breakdown the impacts for particular demographic groups so we ensure everyone’s needs are being met.”

79% of participants reported that the garden had made a difference to their complex, building and community as a whole. These new greenspaces helped build stronger community relationships by socialising, meeting neighbours for the first time, having the opportunity to learn a new hobby and an increased level of spending time outdoors.

Connection was perceived as valuable to community members, particularly in the garden sites where there were a high number of units in a small geographical space, yet low interaction amongst residents. In some communities, it was common for residents to just stay inside their units.

As one participant stated: “without a garden, you know, it would be just taking out the bins and checking the letterbox. But this gives you a reason to get together and spend a little bit of quality time.”

The staff that facilitate daily operations can now use the results to adjust the existing program or identify new ways to support communities across NSW. Feedback from the research suggests that more space is needed for larger gardens, additional time is required with the horticulturists, more hours to be spent in the gardens and of course, there are plenty of tenants that don’t mind eating the food grown by the others.

Sponsored by the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS), Bloomberg and supported by several philanthropic foundations, this program empowers vulnerable communities while providing a broad range of health, training, economic and social benefits. The demand for Community Greening continues to grow, with an aim to deliver 850 gardens and engage 150,000 participants by 2021.

Click here to visit the Community Greening website.

28th October 2017 - COMMUNITY GREENING WINS NATIONAL AWARD OF EXCELLENCE FOR ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN SYDNEY

27th October 2017 - FIRST CERTIFIED PARKS AND LEISURE PROFESSIONALS NAMED AT PLA NATIONAL AWARDS 

5th October 2017 - PARKS AND LEISURE AUSTRALIA TO MANAGE GREEN FLAG AWARD PARKS PROGRAM 

30th August 2017 - ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN SYDNEY’S 200 YEARS AND STILL GROWING CAMPAIGN RECOGNISED FOR EXCELLENCE 

8th May 2017 - SYDNEY’S THE CALYX TO HOST AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST INDOOR ‘GREEN WALL’ 

15th April 2017 - FIFTH GREEN FLAG AWARD CEMENTS CENTENNIAL PARKLANDS’ WORLD-CLASS STATUS

13th June 2016 - ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN SYDNEY CELEBRATES 200 YEARS WITH NEW EXHIBITION CENTRE OPENING


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