Food Forest and Benefits: It's Global Impact

A food forest provides local residents with economic, social, environmental, community and health benefits. Here are some examples of what trees can do for residents and the environment.

A food forest provides local residents with economic, social, environmental, community and health benefits. Here are some examples of what trees can do for residents and the environment.

Economic Benefits

  • Energy conservation through natural cooling and sheltering.
  • Increased property value in close proximity to improved green spaces.
  • Reduced healthcare costs as a result of inclusive green areas.

Social Benefits

  • Reduction in crime in urban areas with presence of vegetation.
  • The presence of trees creates a system of informal surveillance and security.
  • Provides residents with a sense of ownership of their local areas.
  • Encourages neighbours out of their homes and into public and open spaces, creating opportunities for informal social contact.
  • When youth view green spaces, they perform significantly better on tests, experience reduced physiological stress levels, and enhanced psychological well-being.

Environmental Benefits

  • Supports pollinator and wildlife habitats.
  • The trees drawdown carbon emissions and produces fresh air.
  • Trees intercept and absorb stormwater runoff, preventing flooding and erosion.
  • The tree canopies provides shade.
  • Native plants support biodiversity.
  • A food forest provides an additional feature for residents to engage in their parks.

Economic Benefits

  • Energy conservation through natural cooling and sheltering.
  • Increased property value in close proximity to improved green spaces.
  • Reduced healthcare costs as a result of inclusive green areas.

Community Benefits

  • More inclusive neighbourhoods by providing a chance for people to connect and bond. A food forest provides an inclusive gathering place for people of all ages and cultural backgrounds. This is especially valuable to a diverse city like Markham.
  • Opportunities to learn from others and share knowledge on gardening and cooking.
  • Healthier diets due to eating locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Opportunities to grow cultural-specific fruits and vegetables to meet the needs of a multicultural audience.
  • Easy access to affordable food. Especially valuable to lower-income residents.
  • Food skill development through sharing ideas from various cultures. Valuable to a culturally and ethnically diverse city with residents from South Asian, Southeast Asian and East Asian diasporas.
  • Enhanced environmental awareness; people learn that growing food locally means less use of fossil fuels compared to importing food.

General Health and Physical Wellbeing

  • Hospital patients who can view trees recover quicker than patients with no exposure to trees and natural activities.
  • Seniors experienced improved physical health when they spent time outside engaging in gardening activities.
  • People are more productive and less stressed with the presence of plants in their homes.
  • Trees protect us from urban air pollution, reducing the severity of respiratory illnesses like asthma & combat heart disease.

Mental Health

  • Trees combat depression! Garden walking is used to help treat depression in adults and has been shown to increase memory span, reduce pain and stress, improve self-esteem, improve attention and other emotional and behavioural benefits.
  • Veterans with PTSD treated with rehabilitation involving nature experiences have an improved emotional and social quality of life, giving more positive mood effects.
  • Reduces the effects of dementia.
  • Natural landscapes (forests and parks) and the availability of public spaces used for general entertainment aid in treating attention deficit disorders including ADD/ADHD.
  • Correlations between the use of open spaces and reduced stress, reduced psychological distress, depression symptoms, clinical anxiety, and mood disorders in adults.
  • These all lead to greater happiness and life satisfaction.