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Mental and Physical Health Prescription: Nature

People who live near green spaces are generally happier and report improved physical and mental health. The unfortunate truth, according to a recent article by Grist, we only spend about 5% of our time outside.

Maybe the answer to some of the largest health problems we face in today’s society isn’t as complicated as we think. We may not need extreme medications or interventions. The solution is simple. All we need is a little bit of greenery.

Physical Health

  • More than 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight or
  • More than 1 in 20 adults are considered to have extreme obesity.
  • More than 1 in 6 children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be obese

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Obesity has become one of the largest epidemics in the United States. People of all ages, races, and ethnicities are effected by it.

Interestingly enough, people in Denmark living within 330 yards of green spaces were less likely to be obese and more likely to engage in rigorous exercise (grist.org).

In urban areas, it is evident that there is a lack of exposure to nature and green space, but here at Green City Growers we are working to change that. Adding more productive urban farms in places that would otherwise be unused would not only add beauty and function to a previously unproductive space, but it would also work to reduce the epidemic of obesity by providing immediate access to fresh, healthy food and encouraging more exercise.

Mental Health

Mental Health America

recent report from Natural England shows that taking part in nature-based activities can contribute reducing levels of anxiety, stress and depression.

“Whatever the weather, however small or urban the garden, the gardener is made mindful of the here and now. Having your hands in the dirt and repeating tasks such as weeding or planting focuses your energy and allows you the freedom to escape the normal background noise of thoughts and feelings” (Ed Harkness).

Nature can greatly impact ones mental health and overall well-being. By adding productive urban gardens in areas that lack access to green space would positively impact the people living in those urban communities.

The Solution is Simple

Urbanization will continue, but we can move forward with it.  Nature has been proven to help treat the physical and mental problems that so many people now face. Therefore, the installation of urban farms is an innovative, progressive way to approach public health.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a third-party certification program for green buildings developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Whether you are planning a mixed-use redevelopment project for a neighborhood or you are in the process of constructing a new building, you are able to accrue credits towards certification. Help the community you work or live in, and get credit for it!
Learn more about LEED by downloading the guide!


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