Employees should be offered a day’s gardening leave every week, says report


Fulham Palace Meadows Allotments © Edwina Sassoon

Employees should be given the option to work a four-day week and use the other day for gardening, it has been suggested.

The ‘National Gardening Leave’ pamphlet by the New Economics Foundation argues that shorter working hours could make for happier employees, save money and help the environment whilst devoting the extra leisure time to gardening would reap even more significant benefits.

Gardening in towns and cities not only has a wide range of positive effects on health, both physical and mental, it can also provide access to cheap, healthy food; mitigate the impacts of global warming; strengthen communities and help to protect the country from external food and energy price shocks, the authors Andrew Simms and Molly Conisbee note.

Lack of time and a shortage of space are identified as the two biggest barriers to urban gardening, so a core proposal of the leaflet is that workplaces should establish growing areas, anywhere from roofs to car parks.

The authors point to the already growing enthusiasm for urban gardening and the revival of interest in allotments and community food-growing, everywhere from wealthy suburbs to some of the most deprived communities in the UK.

“We believe that National Gardening Leave, imagined as a positive, progressive social policy, committed to help create the circumstances for human flourishing, would be a creative response to a number of the challenges now facing us: under- and over-employment; environmental degradation; de-skilling; a lack of time to develop community and social networks,” the leaflet states.

The full pamphlet is available here: http://www.neweconomics.org/publications/national-gardening-leave



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