Healthy Living in the North

The return on investment of green thumb training

Gardening

What’s your return on investment of gardening?

I grew up in a house of green thumbs so as a young person, I never had to take on any “green” chores – everyone else loved doing it, which meant I was excused by association. My husband and I inherited a yard and a greenhouse when we bought our first house seven years ago, so now I have a yard of my own to maintain (at a minimum) and very few skills to support that task. As such, the learning begins.

My yard has a couple of different gardens, some for flowers and some for vegetables. Mostly, I think of it as chores that the summer brings. However, I am inspired to garden because people tell me it is good for me… and others seem to enjoy it?

On an intellectual level, I understand that if I grow my own food, then I am more connected to the food and have more respect for the food and the environment. People also tell me that being out in nature is a healthy thing to do. I get that, but I question the return on investment of my timed… after all, it just seems like a dirty chore. That being said, I am giving it the old college try.

As I dig in the dirt some nights after work, I think about what I am doing. I am digging in the earth and I couldn’t grow healthy plants if the dirt isn’t healthy. The plants won’t be healthy if the air isn’t healthy and it isn’t given enough water. Then, I get to thinking about the meaning in that. If we are what we eat, I want to be healthy and grown in an environment that supports health. I think I am starting to see the connection and the return on investment doesn’t seem that bad. And, it turns out, getting dirty is kind of fun!

What’s your return on investment of gardening?

Chelan Zirul

About Chelan Zirul

Chelan Zirul is the Regional Manager for Health Promotions and Community Engagement for Northern Health. As a graduate from UNBC, she did her Master's of Arts in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies. She explored regional development decision-making and is an advocate for policy that is appropriate for the needs of northerners. This, combined with her personal interest in health and wellness, drew her to work in health communications. Born in northern B.C., she takes advantage of the access to outdoor living. She enjoys hunting and exploring the backcountry with her dog and husband and enjoys finding ways to use local foods.

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