By Ntoh Doris Bate
It has been a great pleasure for me to be a member of the Leipzig International School (LIS) community, and in particular the LIS Garden since 2019. I appreciate the work of the LIS Garden coordinator- Ms. Gitte Sirin and all friends who volunteer to sustain the LIS Garden.
Ms. Sirin’s good leadership makes the LIS Garden lovely, friendly and educational. The LIS Garden has been a huge inspiration to me, and in particular my career. Having read Botany, and Geomatics and Natural Resources Evaluation for my undergraduate and postgraduate studies, respectively, as well as having trained as a certified Social Healthcare Worker, and Health Coach, the LIS Garden has enabled me to reconnect with like-minded people who nurture nature for economic, social and environmental benefits. My association with the LIS Garden community has motivated me to use my skills to contribute in societal development. I am happy to share with you the link to my article entitled “Health Benefits of Gardening”.

Below is an excerpt.

Health Benefits of Gardening:
1) Boosts Vitamin D and Strengthens Immune Health
It is important for the human body to have sufficient supply of vitamin D, because it is essential for strengthening the immune system of the body. Vitamin D is critically involved in the overall functioning of the body’s immune system. It is required for the body to correctly identify and neutralize threats, helping to ward off infections. In fact, research indicates that having low levels of vitamin D increases one’s chances of getting bacterial or viral infections, flu, as well as more serious diseases such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and certain types of cancer

2) A Greater Feeling of Connection
An intangible benefit of gardening is the recreational beauty, which can enhance a deeper sense of connection that comes with nature. One aspect of this is connection with other people. Gardening is a great family activity, which is good for adults and children alike. As an added bonus, early exposure to the microbes present in soil could be linked to better immune function later in life. Those who do gardening also get connected to the wider
community of plant lovers. Even if you have never planted a garden before, it would not be long before you find yourself discussing with neighbours and passer-by some techniques for growing plants, favourite plants, and how to keep slugs away.

3) Cleaner and Healthier Food
Despite our access to exotic foods from around the world, there is still nothing as satisfying as eating humble produce from one’s own garden. Along with this comes a sense of pride. Home grown vegetable and fruit gardening has major benefits such as reducing our exposure to pesticides. By starting an organic garden at home, you have almost complete control over what goes and what does not go into your garden. You can control the use of insecticides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, and this limits your exposure to toxic

4) Good for the Environment
The negative impact of modern civilization on the environment is enormous. For example, habitats are being destroyed, the soil is being depleted, and water is becoming more polluted. While changes do need to happen on a large scale, local gardens are still an important piece of the puzzle.
Just having a garden with a variety of flowers, vegetables, and/ or fruit trees provide ecosystem services to pollinators as well as to humans. Growing native plants is a great way to provide beneficial support to wildlife (e.g. birds and insects). In this light, the approach to gardening matters a lot.

5) A form of physical exercise for the body
Sedentary lifestyle is a big problem in developed countries where many jobs require less physical activity. This is true for “sitting down” jobs. This situation has been aggravated by the restriction on mobility due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Abstaining from physical exercise is detrimental to human health. This could contribute in increasing
the risks of many illnesses and this could shorten the life span of people.
Gardening is an alternative activity for exercising the body in order to minimize the impacts of a sedentary lifestyle. Doing light activity such as yard-work (e.g. raking, mowing, weeding) is considered moderate exercise. Heavier garden chores such as shoveling or transporting mulch are in the category of vigorous exercise, and this enables the body to build firmer muscles.

6) Exposure to Gut-Boosting Probiotics
One of the more surprising health benefits of gardening is that you may be getting extra probiotics without realizing it. We are most familiar with probiotics that come in little capsules or are present in fermented foods. But there is another larger source of probiotics that often gets overlooked – the soil. Soil-based organisms (also called soil-based probiotics) are beneficial bacteria, and they naturally occur in the soil. The concentration and variety of
these bacteria vary based on location, and soil health.

I wish you a happy and healthy life!
You can meet me mostly on Tuesday mornings in the LIS garden if you would like to connect.

If you are interested in the topic, I would be happy if you get in touch with me:,

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