Doctors’ orders: 10 reasons why growing food is good for you

Jim Sikorski has been an NHS doctor for 38 years, and is one of the cofounders of Sydenham Garden, as well as a keen gardener. Ahead of Capital Growth’s seventh Big Dig Day on 21 April and 10 year anniversary, he shares 10 reasons why you should grow food (and get down to your local community garden to do so).

  1. Food growing connects us to the natural world and makes us more concerned for our environment. A healthy planet is pretty important for our health as communities and as individuals!
  1. You know where it comes from. Low food miles (unless your allotment is a long way away!) make for  cleaner, healthier air which is particularly vital for our respiratory health and for our children’s development. Quite literally, local growing contributes to saving lives.
  1. You know what’s gone into the growing. So much of the food we eat has been subjected to growing methods with hidden chemicals and we avoid this by growing in our communities.
  1. Growing and eating our own food cuts down obesity which is a major cause of illness and premature death.
  1. Being, and working, outside makes our hearts beat for longer!
  1. Growers take in more vitamin D from their time outdoors and this helps to sustain bone health.
  1. Our risk of cancer is cut by eating a greater proportion of fruit and vegetables. So there’s definitely some truth conveyed in the phrase ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’.
  1. It’s not all about bodies. We can’t separate our minds from our bodies in any meaningful way so healthier bodies mean healthier minds.
  1. Growing your own food not only promotes health but can be part of recovering lives that have been damaged by illness or trauma. For the last 15 years at Sydenham Garden we have been helping people on their recovery journey from mental and physical.Time and time we have been moved by the change that we have accompanied.
  1. Healthier minds make for happier and more stable communities so growing communities make up part of the fabric of a healthy society. In short, growing changes things!

The Big Dig day takes place at Sydenham Garden and over 40 other gardens on Saturday 21 April. Check out the online map to find your nearest garden, or search for #BigDig2018.

Read more about the Big Dig or food growing in London

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Capital Growth: The Capital Growth campaign, run by Sustain's London Food Link offers practical and financial support to communities around London to help more people grow more food, and to have greater access to land and growing spaces for community benefit. The Capital Bee project, part of Capital Growth, seeks pledges to promote bee-friendly behaviour, and supports establishment of community beehives.

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By Jim Sikorski

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