Academics from Liverpool, Lancaster and Cranfield universities want to find out if home growing makes people feel more secure in times of crisis, like Covid-19, and whether it improves diet and wellbeing.
They’ll also look at what impact growing at home has on the environment, whether produce is nutritious and safe, and ways home growers can be better supported.
The study comes after lockdown witnessed a resurgence of interest in gardening, evidenced by rising demand for seeds, plants, raised beds, and planters, as well as for allotment spaces.
The study will be multi-disciplinary involving environmental and behavioural sciences and is part of the two-year Rurban Revolution Project funded by the UK Research and Innovation programme Global Food Security.
People taking part in the study will grow lettuces in their gardens, complete online questionnaires about their diet, wellbeing and opinions, and collect their own soil and plant samples to provide to the researchers for nutritional and contaminant analysis. The researchers will also test the air quality around the growing environment to understand how this impacts what is grown.
The appeal of food growing in urban areas is likely to continue and we’re excited to be working with people who are setting out on home-growing projects to understand the value that this can bringDr Charlotte Hardman, University of Liverpool
Dr Charlotte Hardman, University of Liverpool lead investigator said: 'Access to nutritious food and nature have been priorities during the initial lockdown phase and are set to remain so with continued social distancing and likely intermittent restrictions in the future.
'The appeal of food growing in urban areas is likely to continue and we’re excited to be working with people who are setting out on home-growing projects to understand the value that this can bring.'