103-7 Benefits of Community Gardens: On-Farm Trial for Collaboration between Adults with and without Mental Disabilities.
Monday, October 23, 2017: 3:15 PM
Marriott Tampa Waterside, Room 12
As health promoters, community gardens provide health and well-being benefits. However, fewer studies have considered community gardens along with mental disabilities people. Good practice community garden which considered mental disabilities people is crucial. Local volunteers, Ibaraki University College of Agriculture students and outpatient psychiatric day care of Ibaraki Prefectural University of Health Sciences engaged together in community gardens activities. Once a week throughout the year, they established the garden, grew organic vegetables and, maintained fruit orchards and greenhouses at Field Science Center, Ibaraki University, Japan. Local volunteer, student and psychiatric day care staff assist and, work collaboratively with mental disabilities people. The activity improves healthy behaviors by giving participants access to farm-fresh organic foods and increase fruit and vegetables consumption. Working collaboratively in community garden can enhance social skill and team work between participants, especially for mental disabilities people. Despite the social distance from general public in Japan with mental disabilities people, the activity enabling people without disabilities to gain a better understanding of those with disabilities and reduce the negative stigma attached to their conditions. By using salivary α-amylase (sAA) measurement and the stress response scale (SRS-18) questionnaire, this community gardens practice was proven to decrease mental stress for mental disabilities people in this study. Their physical activity also increased by increasing heart rate, breathing rate, muscle activity and body movement during the activity. An appropriate task allocation is important to reduce their physical stress, prevent overload work and to match their abilities.
Keywords: community gardens; mental disabilities; collaborative work; mental stress; physical activity