Our environmental outcomes show the extent of food growing and importance of wider messages. The benefits to new growers are as striking as the benefits to their mentors.
Below is a selection of environmental case studies.
Case study 1: Office workers grow food on London roof garden
Master Gardener, Nat, led the ‘Edible Terrace’ project in summer 2012 to transform an unused roof space of her employer’s office.
Over 25 workers got involved to create an attractive food-growing garden by filling the vacant terrace with growing containers made from recycled items. The assortment of materials for use as planters included wooden cable reels, large tin cans and old buckets.
The group have grown a mix of salads, herbs, vegetables and edible flowers, despite contending with urban pigeons and struggling with windy wet weather!
The Edible Terrace was a runner-up in Capital Growth’s ‘Bee-friendly Urban Gardens’ competition.
Case study: CSR partnership at St Saviour’s community garden
Master Gardener, Emma, excited the community to turn an overgrown and abandoned churchyard into a thriving community garden for the benefit of local residents.
The project arose through contacts made at a Ward Partnership meeting between an anti-social behaviour team and the local church partnership. Emma then involved her employer, Partners for Improvement in Islington, to become their main corporate social responsibility project of the year.
There is now a committed group of food growers. The project is expected to be self-sustaining and an asset to the whole community for years to come.
Case study: Three years in the making: housing estate social
Master Gardener, Pamela has improved life on her estate, the Cressingham near Brixton, and her own confidence and well-being.
Having stopped work under trying circumstances, Pam had been keen to develop her food growing passion to get growing going locally. She’d spent a long period leafletting, doing consultations, and setting up meetings, but with not much result. Then, having the confidence and materials following her Master Gardener induction course in June 2010, she set up a One Pot Pledge event the following Saturday on the estate.
Pamela said: “The gardening involved people being outdoors and actually talking to each other, sharing issues about our Tenants and Residents Association”.
From there, more beds were colonised. Pamela has since set up community composting and is advising the Josephine Avenue growing group with Quadrant Housing Association.
Case study: Household Ania talks about her support from Master Gardener, Liz, since summer 2012
“What has been great for me is that having some degree of self-sustainability, even if it is small, has clarified my thinking in terms of other lifestyle choices and outlook, so something relatively small that this scheme supports has had a much larger impact on other parts of my life.
“Liz has been crucial in me pursuing my goal, which was to have my own fruit and veg growing. Liz has been coming over to my garden regularly and is always really enthusiastic and realistic about what I can achieve.
“Being a part of this scheme and knowing that I had someone there to ask for advice and help me along the way gave me the confidence to really go for it. On my own, I would have struggled knowing what was realistic in planning and also in the practicalities.
“It has also been great because I wanted to do everything organically and Liz is full of ideas about that and through her input. I am now getting involved with the Master Composter scheme with a wormery and a big compost bin so that I can nourish my soil.”
Liz adds: “It’s been great helping Ania get started in growing her own fruit and vegetables for the first time. She has managed to transform her growing space from a patch of weeds to a productive vegetable garden, with fruit trees, bushes, flowers and climbing plants and even grown tomatoes, chillies and herbs in pots. I do believe it’s had a very positive impact on her in other areas of her life”.
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- Read how growing mentors help communities benefit from growing in Coventry & Warwickshire, North London, South London, Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Medway, Somerset, and at HMP Rye Hill.
- Find out more about how Garden Organic benefits communities