The Legends of Aria site has been updated with a new developer diary that outlines some of the recent changes to both the Cooking and Gardening systems. The goal, according to game designer "Ben" was to provide more incentive for players to spend time leveling these activities in order to make it "highly desirable", both in terms of enjoyment and profitability.
Cooking will now enable crafters to create items "that can buff a player's mana pool, health pool, stamina pool, and weight capacity" as opposed to simply regenerate stamina and health as it was before. The higher a player's skill is, the higher the ability "to create more and more powerful foods to buff these attributes".
Additionally, I didn’t want cooking to simply be a skill that you have “templates” that you could craft for each various food and buff combination. So the ingredients you use in cooking actually determine the buffs that will be applied when the final product is consumed. This will allow cooks to cater their food items to specific play styles. Do you value stamina and mana in your build? Or perhaps you’re a crafter/gatherer that wants health/weight capacity? By mixing ingredients cooks will now be able to create food that is suited to YOUR needs.
Gardening, unlike Cooking, is available to everyone since it is not a skill-based system. Players can grow crops on their own property or via containers, so even non-landholders can leverage the system.
Read the full update on the Legends of Aria site.