Sowing Seeds of Resilience: Community Gardening in a Post-Disaster Context

  • Heather A. OkvatEmail author
  • Alex J. Zautra


Resilience is a natural capacity to recover from adversity, sustain well-being, and grow from the experience. To enhance resilience in a high-stress, post-disaster context, we argue that it is vital to introduce positive stimuli to buffer the effects of negative stimuli. We review empirical evidence for the positive effects of various forms of contact with green space and contend that community gardening has considerable potential for bolstering individual and community resilience in disaster zones. We propose that creating an extensive network of community gardens as part of a disaster preparedness plan would yield multi-level benefits and bolster resilience capacity before it is acutely needed, and we suggest that community gardens established after a disaster has occurred adopt targeted aims in order to maximize benefits.


Community gardening Disaster Green space Resilience Stress 



The authors thank Macon Fry, John Reich, and Nancy Wells for their helpful reviews of earlier versions of this manuscript and excellent suggestions for more clearly articulating the ideas presented herein.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Department of Primary Care, School of Health Related ProfessionsUniversity of Medicine and Dentistry of New JerseyNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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