A new report produced by FCFCG shows that involvement in community growing can act as a ‘powerful tool’ to help vulnerable people, bring communities together and encourage people to adopt greener and healthier behaviours.
FCFCG has produced a learning report tracking the progress of growing and green space projects funded by Communities Living Sustainably, a Big Lottery funded five year programme which has provided £1m to twelve communities to test ways of dealing with the potential impacts of climate change.
The report, which follows projects including a Salvation Army hostel garden, an initiative to get people growing at home and a developing local food network, observes that: ‘practical involvement in growing and green space activities can provide a powerful tool to help vulnerable people address personal and social issues.’ Projects were also helping increase people’s physical activity and encouraging health eating while promoting biodiversity.
The report also finds scope for devolved public health budgets to build community growing and green space projects into local service delivery, supported by the development of robust evidence of health benefits and employment outcomes.
The experience of CLS groups suggests that local projects can also stimulate local food economies, although it also highlights a number of barriers and a need to coordinate a strategic approach to local food to overcome challenges faced in building production at scale, increasing distribution networks and retail outlets to turn social projects into more mainstream business models.
The report contains recommendations for funders, central and local government and community organisations and has been produced by FCFCG for the Groundwork Learning Partnership, which is comprised of Groundwork UK, The Energy Saving Trust, The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens, The New Economics Foundation and Building Research Establishment (BRE).
Click here to read the full report and find out more about Communities Living Sustainably.