Danny Joyce | Editor
Searches for Connecting to Nature are up 1,050% in Ireland
According to Google Trends, searches for connecting to nature are up a massive 1,050% . Connecting with nature, also referred to as nature therapy or ecotherapy, is the practice of being in nature to boost personal growth and healing, especially mental health.
Bestselling author of Owning It and The Confidence Kit, and Brand Ambassador for this year’s Energia Get Ireland Growing initiative, Caroline Foran said: "Getting out in nature has always been a go-to for me to downregulate my stress response. The Japanese expression “shinrin-yoku” can be translated as “forest bathing,” which nicely captures the experience of being immersed in plant life." In the wake of the rising cost-of-living prices and inflation, many people may look to adapt to a tighter budget, which is causing increased stress. Getting out in nature and growing your own food could be the solution, as it’s linked to better stress management and reduced anxiety. Caroline continued: "It’s no surprise that the interest in nature and ecotherapy is on the rise. Growing your own fruit and vegetables can be an easy year-round self-care practice, it can give people a new sense of purpose during times of uncertainty and can be grounding. I’ve come to learn the different types of fruit and vegetables you can grow with ease is vast, with carrots, beetroot, peas, tomatoes, and leafy greens being some examples and a perfect place to start for someone who is new to food growing.” Some examples of how growing your own food can be positive for your mind and body include: • Mindfulness: planting is a calming activity • Reduces cortisol, the stress hormone: as humans, we regulate our emotions more efficiently outdoors • Creativity: regardless of skill or flare you are creating and shaping something that belongs to you • Vitamin D: being in the sun is a known relief for stress, anxiety, and depression • Exercise: every minute spent in the garden, even something as simple as watering the plants, involves muscles and movement
Mick Kelly, Founder of GIY, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Energia again to encourage everyone to celebrate the importance of food growing in Ireland. Growing your own food is one of the simpler solutions to numerous health, environmental, and economic problems."
"We appreciate growing your own food can seem daunting, but we encourage people to join a local community garden where you’re surrounded by people of all abilities, from complete beginners to lifetime growers who can share their experience and knowledge, making growing food more enjoyable. Even growing a single plant on your windowsill is a great start and what’s better, the likes of basil and mint plants keep bugs, mosquitoes, and flies at bay during these warmer summer days.” Lorna Danaher, Sponsorship Manager for Energia also said: “We’re excited to see community groups come together as part of our 2nd Energia Get Ireland Day. Energia and GIY have shared goals in wanting to support communities to be more resilient and self-sufficient, and to see Ireland become more sustainable. We hope people are inspired to get involved on Energia Get Ireland Growing day and begin their food growing journey.” In April 2022, the Energia Get Ireland Growing initiative announced the giveaway of 300 community growing starter kits across Ireland worth €42,500.
Using these kits, communities across Ireland are encouraged to come together to become more sustainable and connected through growing food together. Whether you have a kit or not, there are still great prizes to be won for Community Heroes, spaces that are transformed, and the best celebration on July the 2nd.
To submit for a prize, simply post on social media, use the hashtag #GetIrelandGrowing and tag @EnergiaGIG. Free resources are available at getirelandgrowing.ie or by downloading the GIY app. For further information visit the Get Ireland Growing website at getirelandgrowing.ie and follow the Get Ireland Growing campaign on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Slán go fóill.