The only thing you can expect to dig into this time of year is the snow blanketing your driveway. But if you’re searching for a yearlong resolution to stick to in 2024, tilling the earth as part of a community garden would be a holistic option, according to new science from Jill Litt, a professor of environmental health at the University of Colorado Boulder. Published in the Lancet Planetary Health last year, Litt’s research looked at beginner gardeners who tended one of the nonprofit Denver Urban Gardens’ (DUG) plots for a year. She found that they ate more fiber and were more active than study participants who did not take up gardening—results that you might expect. But those who gardened also experienced a greater decline in perceived stress and anxiety, differences Litt and DUG executive director Linda Appel Lipsius chalk up to time spent outdoors, added physical activity, and, in particular, the community in community gardening. That could mean socializing with fellow gardeners, participating in a group workday, or simply committing to a cause. “[Community gardening] is a way to come together on a continued basis where people are depending on you,” Appel Lipsius says. “A basic human need is to be needed.” And there is no shortage of gardens in Denver that need tending. This spring, DUG will open its 200th site, in Northwest Denver on land abutting I-70. In addition to plots, the garden will feature trees and bushes planted around the perimeter to provide a sound barrier between nearby houses and I-70 traffic while also producing nuts and fruit for the neighborhood, including sour cherries that the area’s Ukrainian and Russian residents specifically asked for. Says Appel Lipsius: “It’s just a nice way to add further connection.”