Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 555386
Title Healing gardens as therapeutic landscapes
Author(s) Veen, E.J.; Doughty, Karolina
Event RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, London, 2019-08-28/2019-08-30
Department(s) Rural Sociology
Cultural Geography
Publication type Abstract in scientific journal or proceedings
Publication year 2019
Abstract Although survival rates for cancer are improving, survivors suffer an increased risk of chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and depression. In order to prevent patients from developing these diseases, lifestyle guidelines have been developed. Adherence to these guidelines, however, is low and short-lived. Many patients lack the aspiration, capacity or energy to make lifestyle changes. In this paper we explore a communal ‘healing garden’ as a potential alternative to these lifestyle guidelines, exploring whether it may function as a ‘therapeutic landscape’ for cancer survivors, particularly in stimulating physical activity and healthy eating, but also in facilitating social peer support. Our paper discusses a pilot project in the Netherlands, in which five participants gardened together one-and-a-half hours a week, under supervision, in ten square foot gardening containers. Using a series of physical tests and semi-structured interviews with participants (before, during and after the project), we show that physically the gardening experience did not meet expectations. Nevertheless, the gardening activity was highly satisfying for participants, for a variety of reasons (the activity as such, the harvest, the pleasure of manual labour, and mental rest). Participants reported that the gardening group formed a supportive environment. However, they did not agree on whether that is sufficient to consider the gardening activity a form of social peer support. We conclude that even though the project did not have measurable physical results, it can be regarded a therapeutic landscape for its social benefits.
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