On Saturday 9 July, fourteen community food growing gardens across the city will offer wellbeing activities for Londoners, including foraging tours, mindfulness sessions and herbal workshops.
Capital Growth  has organised this new city-wide garden open day to showcase the ways gardens and gardening can benefit our health. Entrance to the gardens is free and special activities are planned for families, older people and those who’ve never grown before.
“Grow Well, Feel Well Day is all about getting people to see how food growing is great for your health and wellbeing - whether that’s growing delicious fresh fruit and veg, or getting involved in gardens that are also a place for art, meditation or learning about healthy eating,” says Maddie Guerlain of Capital Growth.
Newly established group Lend and Tend has recently partnered with The Lost Format Society to create a rooftop bar, cinema and edible garden on top of a carpark in Croydon. Throughout the day they will be running well-being workshops on yoga and meditation, as well as no-dig gardening and how to build your own growing container.
In Dagenham, Plantastic Garden will run foraging tours to teach people about edible wild plants and herbs. Hammersmith Community Gardens are putting on a £5 yoga session in Ravenscourt Glasshouses, followed by a workshop on the medicinal and nutritional properties of different garden herbs. Meanwhile, Oasis Farm in Waterloo will be holding cooking demonstrations with fresh garden produce, tours of the farm’s gardens, animals and aquaponics, and visual artists on site will be offering activities and selling their work.
“Increasingly, we are seeing evidence supporting what we already know - that gardening is good for people’s health. Grow Well, Feel Well day showcases how community gardens are putting into practice recommendations from studies such as the recent Kings Fund report, which shows how gardening has a place in creating a healthier nation,”  explained Sarah Williams, part of Sustain and Garden Organic’s Growing Health campaign .
Grow Well, Feel Well is a part of Capital Growth’s new London Grows initiative , which will help over 2,000 people get involved in community growing projects, learn about wildlife-friendly growing, and improve London’s green environment.
For full details about what’s happening on Grow Well, Feel Well Day in different gardens around London, visit www.capitalgrowth.org/events/grow_well_feel_well/
For more information please contact Maddie Guerlain at Maddie@sustainweb.org or 0203 5596 777 or visit www.capitalgrowth.org
1. Capital Growth is a London Food Link project (part of wider charity Sustain), started in 2008 to help set up 2,012 new community food growing spaces. Capital Growth continues to support over 2000 members with funding from The Mayor of London and The City Bridge Trust. www.capitalgrowth.org
2. The Kings Fund Report Gardens and Health includes a ‘menu’ of recommendations that aims to encourage the NHS, government departments, national bodies, local government, health and wellbeing boards and clinical commissioning groups to make more of the diverse health benefits of gardening in support of their priorities. www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/gardens-and-health
3. Growing Health is an initiative run by sustain and Garden Organic which aims to find ways for community food growing to be more routinely used by the health and social care services as a way of promoting health and wellbeing. www.sustainweb.org/growinghealth
4. London Grows is Capital Growth’s new three year initiative to support 2,000 Londoners to learn how to grow their own fruit and vegetables and increase wildlife in the city, funded by the City Bridge Trust, as part of their Investing in Londoners programme. The funding covers training, events and large volunteering days, with the aim of improving knowledge and understanding of wildlife-friendly food growing, and the well-being of Londoners as a result of volunteering in their local food growing gardens. www.citybridgetrust.org.uk
5. Other gardens taking place include
a. Hackney: The Castle Garden will have yoga for adults and kids, an arts and crafts area, garden mindfulness and meditation sessions, singing, a compost workshop, and Garden Fit training. There will be garden herb teas, juices and wood fired pizzas for sale.
b. Lambeth: Loughborough Farm will have healthy garden activities on offer during their garden volunteer session, guided by experienced growers. Learn to propagate and harvest herbs, and experiment with herbal tea blends. Help power up our batteries whilst getting fit on our homemade wind/pedal turbine!
c. Greenwich: Maryon Park Community Garden will run outdoor art taster sessions with Simon Woodward from COATS throughout the afternoon. There will also be tours of the garden and talks on community growing by the garden coordinator.
d. Westminster: The Regent’s Park Allotment Garden will have a healing plant trail for visitors, showcasing the physical and mental benefits of different plants in the garden, as well as a self-guided mindfulness walk around the garden.
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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