via Natural Blaze
A new study soon to appear in the Faculty of Public Health’s Journal of Public Health suggests that participating in local food projects may have a positive effect on wellbeing and psychological health.
Local food is a growing movement, and includes initiatives such as allotments, community gardens, community supported agriculture, farmers’ markets, and food buying cooperatives.
Consumers are increasingly interested in where their food comes from. Retail sales of local food have grown significantly over the past decade, as has participation in farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture schemes, and buying cooperatives.
Research has explored the physical health benefits of growing food, but has not so far systematically explored how local food projects may influence psychological well-being. Mental illness presents a growing global public health crisis.
In the United Kingdom, mental health contributes to 28% of the total financial cost of healthcare. Psychological wellbeing generates important benefits for people and societies, including good health, longevity, improved personal relationships, better productivity, and civic engagement.
Using an on-line survey, researchers compared participants of local food initiatives across three English counties – Essex, Norfolk, and Suffolk – with members of the wider public. They found that those who participated in local food initiatives scored higher on standardised measures of well-being than those who did not participate […]