I'm personally not sure that drinking from fountains should restore MV like that, that cuts out a lot of interaction with PCs and from the PC economy if people never need to eat. You can't really just drink water and live.
Also, if Assets don't require RPXP for gaining their automated incomes we already sort of have that curiosity of the relationship between mechanics/"gaming" and the storytelling/RP aspect.
Also, maybe update the helpfile for jobs to indicate folks should use think during the process to represent RP during use, which would make this no different than any other solo crafting RP, really. Maybe people as crafting in general has no indicated requirement to really RP. Especially with something like Gardening, without a system like this to gain any early pool, you are left at the mercy of timing that the other active Gardeners in game haven't already harvested everything in public or even clan areas. Same thing with Husbandry.
I agree the jobs might need tweaks, but I don't personally see it meaning there's less RP happening, but at present there's a real factor where RP alone doesn't allow people to actually do work related to their skill if no one is interested in buying it. Which, for a crafting character part of the satisfaction sometimes is actually doing work not just saying it was all virtually done.
People never need to eat as-is. Sleep. Coamjar. Magic. Even just never spending MV (not that difficult for certain concepts). It's a good thing. Some other RP MUDs spam you with 'you are hungry' every tick to and have starvation code. I've always found that distracting from RP rather than benefiting it, and it's something I like about TI that food and drink are encouraged with a carrot rather than a stick. The benefit to food is that it restores MV faster and you can take it more of it with you easier than liquids. It's a convenient luxury in that regard. Most food-related sales are going to be for RP purposes; restaurants and catering. And that's fine. My last cook made nearly 100 gold off two catering gigs. I don't think cooks are at risk for lost RP and funding. More importantly, Freemen can't really afford to be constantly buying food to regain MV. Not if they ever want more than the free phome room. Not if they ever want to buy anything at all from crafters. Even making their own, crafting food takes enough MV compared to what it provides that it never really feels worth the effort to track down the many, many ingredients and process them. Nerfing fountains isn't really the solution, I don't think. It creates as many or more problems than it fixes.
Assets, to my understanding, are merely making the automated income you get now have a more concrete reason behind it. It's not something you can just grind out silver endlessly from.
Making money with crafting does require roleplay. You have to roleplay with your customers. Not necessarily the case with shops, but my understanding is that most player shops don't sell much, especially when compared to commissions. Most successful player shops I've seen have had a player regularly roleplaying around it, like the Three Cups, back when it was the popular tavern instead of the Queen's.
Making money with Purchase Silver/Wealth also requires roleplay, just indirectly.
I'm never going to advocate or even support a move to require solo RP. It's always struck me as masturbatory, and I'll never participate in it.
As for gardening, the job just lets you make compost. Compost can be crafted with foraged ingredients, which are free. Probably half the grid or more lets you forage for the ingredients, so timing isn't really an issue. The gardening job is probably the least important, from a skill improvement standpoint. Something like forging, which has expensive ingredients, would be a better argument in my mind.