Written by Kylie Barton, Researcher, One Community
There has been a rise in popularity of the community gardening scheme of late, with people of all ages realising the benefits of reconnecting with nature. A new UN report shows that local organic gardening is the only way to feed the world! With allotments becoming harder to come by, with a waiting list of over two years at present in Eastleigh, there is an increasing need for innovative solutions to allow vulnerable people access to green spaces.
In Eastleigh we have Highbridge Community Farm which is part of the Eastleigh Transition Network providing a community response to the pressures of climate change. Exciting stuff. The main aim of this gardening project is to provide a secure food source which is organic, and local – thus reducing food miles and that pesky packaging. The group also aim to promote healthy eating through increasing knowledge of fruit and veg and access to it. Health professionals are increasingly concerned about the lack of nutrients in modern diets, and so gardening is a great way to educate people about what they are consuming and the right kinds of foods to eat.
As well as the benefits that growing food can bring in terms of health, gardening schemes in general have many health and welfare benefits for the whole community. At One Community we run a Garden Share scheme. This scheme matches people who have land but lack the time or capability to utilise it up with people who want a space to grow their own food but have no garden space. Gardening is a very therapeutic activity, and can provide a safe space away from the hustle-bustle of day to day life.
Working outdoors in the garden is a great way to keep fit too. It is quite physical work, and can really help with physical fitness and in tackling obesity. There is a lot of concern among health professionals about the decline in physical activity among adults, and so gardening schemes are one way to encourage more activity in the community.
Green space is becoming a key element in urban planning now due to the multiple benefits that have been proven. It can help combat some of the negative effects brought on by modern life and is good for people and planet. Community gardening schemes are socially beneficial and can help rebuild a sense of community.
Gardening is good for you physically, psychologically, and good for your general health and wellbeing – so why not give it a shot! Try out our garden share scheme today.