Growing Round the Houses: Food production on housing estates

A briefing paper by Sustain and the Women's Environmental Network (WEN), explaining how social housing providers and their tenants can work together on their estates to grow food, and the many benefits that this brings for community cohesion, healthy eating and improving green space, especially for families living on a low income.

31/05/2008
London Food Link
8pp - 2008

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Growing Round the Houses: Food production on housing estatesGrowing Round the Houses is a briefing paper by Sustain and the Women’s Environmental Network (WEN), explaining how social housing providers and their tenants can work together on their estates to grow food, and the many benefits that this brings for community cohesion, healthy eating and improving green space, especially for families living on a low income.

Now, more than ever, we need to grow more food, closer to where we live, that is tasty, wholesome and nutritious, that enhances rather than destroys the environment we depend on, and that satisfies people’s need for a secure and trusted food supply. Sustain’s previous reports on urban agriculture and WEN’s substantial experience of working with communities to establish urban food growing projects highlight multiple benefits, including:

  • educational value for children and adults
  • appreciation of how food is produced as part of encouraging a healthy diet
  • improved access to healthy affordable food in areas where this is a problem
  • improvement of physical and mental health as a result of regular outdoor activity, and contact with nature
  • preservation of green space in urban areas
  • the sense of achievement and empowerment of disadvantaged communities gaining new skills, or using existing skills (particularly within immigrant communities from rural backgrounds).

As well giving advice on how to set up a food growing project on their estate, it describes examples such as the Spitalfields Estate Community Garden, where residents worked together to build themselves a food growing space for vegetables and herbs popular with the local ethnic minority community.

 

This is the umbrella for all of Sustain's initiatives in London. Our work includes helping to influence local government policy, hands-on food growing training, running sessions for public sector caterers, creating guidance for independent eateries and food producers, public awareness campaigns, and joining the dots between people around specific food issues. The LFL supporter network is open to everyone who grows, produces, teaches, peddles, promotes and simply enjoys good food in the capital.

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Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming

Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.