There are lots of well-documented benefits of urban food growing, from lower food miles to teaching children where their food comes from. One which gets less attention is adults developing new skills.
“We’ve found food growing can help so many people to develop and improve their self-esteem,” says the Capital Growth campaign’s Paola Guzman. “Anyone, from the person in a really challenging situation needing help to get back on their feet, to professionals wanting to engage more with their community.”
The ‘Roots to Work’ report, published earlier this year, which was researched and written by the City & Guilds Centre for Skills Development in partnership with Capital Growth, found that growing projects could significantly help those who face difficulties in finding and keeping work - people experiencing physical or mental disabilities, addiction issues, homelessness or language barriers.
But it is not all about training for adults in special circumstances, says Paola. As well as continuing to offer regular food-growing training, Capital Growth is launching new ‘grow to sell’ training for people interested in selling the surplus food they grow.
The campaign has also launched a popular ‘train the trainer’ initiative, which provides individuals with the skills and confidence to be able to run their own training on food growing. Mark Ridsdill Smith - the man behind social enterprise Vertical Veg - ran the first train the trainer workshop for Capital Growth. He says the response has been fantastic, with two attendees now running their own courses through their housing association in Hampstead Heath; and workshops done at the recent London Green Fair, and at Highgate community centre. “It’s great to help people take that step from thinking they would like to teach food-growing to actually feeling they can do it,” says Mark.
Similarly, the Tottenham-based Living Under One Sun project teaches community leaders about ‘blooming beds and bees’ so they can start their own food-growing projects. “We’re training community leaders not just in horticulture, but building up their confidence to take an active role in the neighbourhood,” says project manager Leyla Laksari. So far the project has trained over 40 individuals, including unemployed people, school governors, and church leaders. “It is about people finding something they didn’t think they could do, and realising they can,” she adds. “They start standing taller, opening their arms when they are speaking, and laughing more. That’s what I call confidence.” For more information on the new training sessions being planned visit www.capitalgrowth.org/training
Rewriting the recipe book
Pick up a menu in any of the capitalís restaurants and itís common now to find local or seasonal produce. But how much of it has been harvested that morning and delivered by push bike?
Mobs rule (41)
Never a dill moment (37)
Can you dig it? (34)
Wide open space (32)
Give bees a chance (30)