Our health outcomes show the physical and mental benefits for people that start and continue growing their own food with the support of a Garden Organic Master Gardener.
The benefits to new growers are as striking as the benefits to their mentors. Below is a selection of health case studies.
Case study 1: Otway Street gardeners grow together for better health
Master Gardener, Irene, is the guiding force for a community growing group in Medway for people with health problems and difficulties with confidence and self-esteem.
One of Irene’s households is Julie, with husband Ivan and their children Bobby and Ollie. They got involved at the garden to improve Julie’s physical health. Irene said: “Julie was feeling the effects of her diet and wanted a healthier lifestyle.
“She told me ‘even going down to work in the garden I am getting exercise. Now I want to eat better. I feel I am actually getting healthier’.”
The gardeners have been sharing a harvest of tomatoes, beans, lettuce and even a few strawberries and sweetcorn cobs.
“They have realised they have got to be flexible and work together to get results and that people have different abilities and work at different paces,” said Irene.
Case study 2: Accessible allotment at Brunswick Healthy Living centre
Master Gardener, Sue, supports people with learning disabilities and mental health problems during her weekly allotment group at the Brunswick Healthy Living Centre in Leamington Spa.
An allotment group member, Darren, not only helps on the allotment with digging, weeding and planting veg, but also helps in the centre’s cafe. The harvest is sold at low cost to local people who use the centre; a fantastic advertisement for the great taste of home-grown veg.
Sue’s input to the allotment has made huge difference to the group. They learn new skills from their Master Gardener and grow the right crops at the right times, mostly in right place!
Case study 3: Recovery by volunteering: over 200 people now growing
One of our Coventry Master Gardeners started growing as part of her recovery from post natal/reactive depression. She now runs sessions at a church allotment project in a deprived urban area.
“Learning to grow my own vegetables has been an amazing journey for me personally and I’m sure it ‘keeps me well’.
“Some of my volunteers and families that I mentor had never even seen a seed before! It thrills me to think that our little allotment project through the Master Gardener Programme can enable so many people to have a go at growing their own.
“The support I have had from Garden Organic has been fantastic. The training is really useful and the co-ordinators are quick to respond if there are any queries.”
Case study 4: Adults with physical disabilities growing with Master Gardener David
Residents at the care home, Hovenden House, are now growing food at their shared growing space thanks to nearly 60 hours volunteering by David (and his popular green poloshirt).
Due to his engagement of the residents, South Holland District Council in Lincolnshire awarded the home a grant to create a more disabled friendly growing environment.
“The grant was used to build a paved area for raised beds which can be accessed by the residents from their wheelchairs. The boxes for the raised beds were made by young adults as part of the National Citizenship Scheme.
“I have made bespoke gardening equipment for the disabled residents to use from their wheelchairs as many of them have physical as well as mental disabilities.”
- Read more case studies showing impact: health, social, environmental, local, summary.
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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