The North London Master Gardener network has been part of a three year pilot programme managed by national charity, Garden Organic.
In Spring 2014 the programme was re-launched in partnership with new commissioners Camden and Islington Public Health for a further 2 years until April 2016.
The Growing for Health programme is an initiative in the boroughs of Islington and Camden to encourage more residents to get involved in learning to grow their own food. The initiative is primarily targeting individuals who are socially isolated, have mental health conditions or long term health conditions who would benefit from more physical activity, social engagement in their communities and a healthier diet through easier access to local food.
How does it work?
Garden Organic recruits community volunteers, Master Gardeners, who we train and actively support to promote the benefits of growing your own.
Master Gardeners offer local growing advice at sheltered housing accommodations, therapeutic gardening projects, health centres and other community growing spaces, as well as attend events, organise stalls, and engage in other innovative ways that suit their skills and lifestyle.
Master Gardeners also mentor individuals in their own home, offering 12 months free support to those just starting to grow their own food.
Programme partners include:
St Lukes Community Centre
Freightliners City Farm
Urban Growth. Jobs in Mind
Abbey Community Centre
SHP – single and homeless project
Irish Centre Housing, Conway House
Highgate Mental Health Centre
Age UK Islington
What’s the point?
There’s huge interest in growing food. The public’s demand for allotments, advice, and support have increased massively thanks to high profile campaigns, food and health concerns, community growing networks, and a changing society intent on learning how to grow their own local, organic produce.
Master Gardeners have the important – and exciting role of supporting these interested people. To offer them reasons to grow food, remove barriers against, teach growing skills and offer support.
Master Gardeners believe that everyone can grow their own food, whether in a community garden or allotment, on their balcony, a windowsill or a park. Whatever the crop, whatever the space, food growing is important for a healthy diet and lifestyle. It saves money, teaches skills, and brings people together.
What Funders are involved?
We are very grateful for the support of our new commissioners Islington and Camden Public Health for the period May 2014-April 2016.
Until Feb 2013 we received support from The Big Lottery’s Local Food Fund, Edible Islington, the council’s campaign for community food growing in partnership with Groundwork, Capital Growth, Sustain, and St Luke’s Trust.
Master Gardeners enable people to feel a renewed sense of community, and connectedness with others in their neighbourhood, which in turn help them to cope with mental health conditions, disabilities or loneliness, and equip them with skills that can help them find employment as well as a sense of personal achievement.
Find out more about the Master Gardener programme
Visit our other programme websites