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Evidence - the health and wellbeing benefits of food growing

The health, wellbeing and social benefits of gardening, horticulture therapy and food growing are becoming better established and documented and there are many examples across the UK, of growing initiatives that are used by different groups to provide opportunities for exercise, to address physical and mental problems, to encourage social interaction and to develop skills, while also providing access to fresh, local fruit and vegetables.

Growing Health has been pulling together different types of evidence that can be used either as a starting point to open discussion with health contacts or to back up your service. We have produced:

Beacon reports

Sydenham Garden

Sydenham Garden provides green care, nature-based activities and arts and crafts for different client groups including adult mental health and people for early stage dementia.

Brighton and Hove Food Partnership Dementia Friendly Food Project

The commissioned funding covers two 8-week cookery courses per year and two 12-week gardening groups per year for people with mild to moderate dementia and their carers.

Evidence Review

Benefits of food growing for health & wellbeing - overview of the evidence

Benefits of food growing for health & wellbeing - overview of the evidence


These are a series of short briefings of the benefits for particular health areas.

Gardening and food growing to reduce stressand stress related illness

Food Growing & Healthy Weight

Gardening and growing for people with dementia

Product sheets

These are examples of services that can be offered providing an overview of the product, identify the client group, outcomes and the evidence. Use these examples and adapt them to your local needs.

Social and Therapeutic Horticulture

Growing Enterprise

The Natural Health Service in Halton, Merseyside, provides a single contact point to well-developed services in the natural environment, proven to tackle a range of health and wellbeing issues. It offers a range of services taking advantage of the area's wealth of green spaces and natural places. It developed this series of product sheets to provide an overview of the products offered including; an overview of the product; identifying the client group and outcomes from delivery, the evidence base and links to case studies. They are updatable and adaptable to local circumstances and developing evidence. Product Sheets are provided for:

  1. Horticultural Therapy
  2. Walking for Health
  3. Cycling for Health
  4. Forest School
  5. Green Gym.

Download: Natural Health Service - Consortium Health Products 2013 - Product Sheets.

The Brighton and Hove Food Partnership have developed two very useful visual guides:

Download: Powerpoint presentation to use with CCGS or public health which outlines the benefits which you can amend.

Growing Health posters presented in 2015

Public Health England Conference 15-16 Sept, Growing Health: Using community food growing to deliver public health outcomes

Royal College of GPs Conference 1-3 Oct, Growing Health – making gardening and food growing a natural choice for your patients

Kings Fund Bringing together housing and public health; enabling better health and wellbeing  21st Oct, Gardens for Life – using community based food growing in Tower Hamlets to deliver public health outcomes

Eden on prescription - Vounder Garden, a Space to Grow

Vounder Garden is a pilot horticultural therapy programme run by the Eden Project based in Cornwall. It uses horticulture and gardening to provide weekly sessions over a period of 12 months to support 12 individuals living with anxiety and depression.

Growing Health: Growing Health is a national project run by Garden Organic and Sustain, which is funded by the Tudor Trust, to see how community food growing can be routinely used by the health and social care services as a way of promoting health and wellbeing for a range of individuals and population groups.

You can get involved

We are keen to hear from anyone interested in or running a project that links community food growing with health and wellbeing or looking to develop this area.

Find out more

Support our work

Your donation will help communities to make the case for the health benefits of food growing.


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