February 15, 2015
A healthy industry
Drop by the LO exercise garden at Canada Blooms and test your fitness level.
Denis Flanagan CLD
LO Manager of Membership and Public Relations

Denis FlanaganUnited Nations has declared 2015 The International Year of Soil, in an attempt to raise awareness and promote more sustainable use of this critical resource. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that without healthy soils, “life on earth would be unsustainable.”

Indeed, soils are the foundation of agriculture, of food security and nutrition. Landscape Ontario and The Compost Council of Canada will join forces to promote the awareness of healthy soil later this year. Stay tuned.

During a lecture at the Royal Horticultural Society in Britain, it was suggested by Dr. William Bird, that significant savings could be achieved by the national health system if gardening was prescribed by GPs across the country. The U.K. health system spends £60 million a year on long-term health conditions. It is estimated that 80 per cent of these costs could be prevented by patients leading a healthy lifestyle.

Gardening could play a major role in developing such lifestyles. Dr. Matilda van den Bosch says projects are underway in Sweden to compare the cost savings of prescriptive gardening with conventional medicine.

Both these doctors are optimistic that gardening on prescription could be a reality one day. Landscape Ontario, along with CNLA, will be following this research and hopefully inspire similar action with our Canadian medical practitioners.

Some further facts that you can share with your clients came from the eartheasy.com/blog. One long-term study followed nearly 3,000 older adults for 16 years. The study tracked all kinds of dementia and assessed a variety of lifestyle factors. Researchers found daily gardening to represent the single biggest risk reduction for dementia, reducing it by 36 per cent.

Why does gardening make such a difference? Alzheimer’s is a mysterious disease and the factors influencing its incidence and progression remain poorly understood. However, gardening involves many of our critical functions, including strength, endurance, dexterity, learning, problem solving and sensory awareness.

To fall in line with this healthy, life changing way of thinking, it is wonderful to see the enthusiasm behind the Come Alive Outside campaign launched at our Congress trade show in January, and the community projects being undertaken by many of our chapters this year.

It seems whatever the project with our members, there is always humour involved and we know that laughter can be the best form of medicine. Laughter can be more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze. It triggers healthy change, boosts energy, reduces stress and it’s fun and free. I hope to share a laugh with you at the monkey bars in the LO exercise garden at Canada Blooms.
Denis Flanagan can be reached at dflanagan@landscapeontario.com or at 905-875-1805, ext. 2303.