The Pandemic Gardening Survey Report
Report by Sustain: the Australian food network, 2020
- Community Garden Australia
- Sustainable Gardening Australia
- 3000 Acres
- Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation
- Jiwah Pty Ltd
- Pocket City Farms.
EXTRACT… In this report, we lay out an action agenda to create more edible towns and cities in Australia. Based on findings from the first-ever national Pandemic Gardening Survey, the report reflects the voices of over 9,000 gardeners from urban, regional and remote communities across Australia who shared how edible gardening is good for the mind, body and soul.
Edible gardening has immense power to do good. The survey findings reveal it was particularly important to low-income households and those living with mental illness and chronic conditions. As a gardener from regional Victoria shared, “I suffer from PTSD resulting from my firefighting career, so gardening has become a balm for my soul.” A Canberra gardener living with cancer explained that “my garden keeps me alive, especially on the bad days.”
Nearly 20% of respondents said they could not have made it through the pandemic without their garden. Another 62% said the garden meant a great deal to them during the pandemic. Along with their substantial mental health benefits, edible gardens have the power to create greener cities, reduce household waste, strengthen community connectedness, enhance food security and encourage fresh produce consumption.
“There are very few initiatives that fall within the remit of local and state governments that so powerfully support so many aspects of wellbeing at once,” said Dr Kelly Donati, founding Chairperson of Sustain and lecturer in food studies at William Angliss Institute.
Despite its documented benefits for ecological, mental and physical wellbeing, edible gardening currently receives limited government support.