Community Garden “Fresh Blooms”
In May of 2018, Fairfield Memorial Hospital (FMH) launched its first ever Community Garden, “Fresh Blooms.” For our first season, we have planted sweet corn, tomatoes, and basil along with marigolds and sunflowers. This project will be a great way for the hospital to interact with the community, provide fresh produce for those who need it, and promote wellness by encouraging a healthy lifestyle! Fresh Blooms will also allow many people to enjoy the gardening experience that may otherwise not be able due to space or health constraints. Read on to learn how gardening can positively impact your health!
Increase Vitamin D levels
Vitamin D is an important vitamin that aids in the body’s absorption of calcium, which is critical for bone health. Deficiency of this vitamin is becoming more prevalent, and many are turning to supplements to help reverse it. Vitamin D can actually be made by your own body with exposure to UVB rays from sunlight. Benefits can be seen with as little as 15 minutes of exposure per day. Gardening can be a great way to get outside, soak up some sunshine, and improve your Vitamin D levels!
Get aerobic exercise
Aerobic exercises are those that stimulate your heart rate and breathing to increase for a sustained amount of time. Performing aerobic exercises regularly can help reduce risk for certain cancers, diabetes, depression, and heart disease as well as help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight. The exertion of planting, weeding, tilling, and harvesting your garden can definitely count towards your physical activity for the day!
Increase intake of fruits and vegetables
One of the most obvious health benefits of gardening is the access it provides to fresh, nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables! Eating from a garden ensures that your produce is vine-ripened, which allows it to acquire the maximum amount of nutrients from the soil. Plus, the abundance of fruits and vegetables available makes it easier to get the recommended minimum of 5 servings of produce/day! These foods are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants while being low in fat, sodium, and total calories. They are also filling due to their high fiber and water content!
Improve mental health
Aside from the physical benefits discussed above, gardening can also positively impact your mental health. Research has shown gardening to help boost your mood, decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and can even decrease your risk of developing dementia! Participating in a community garden can also combat loneliness by allowing an opportunity for socialization.
FMH is seeking volunteers to assist with the maintenance and harvest of Fresh Blooms Community Garden throughout the growing season. If you are interested in being involved with this project, please contact Brenda Ware-Roge, Care Coordinator at 847-8349.