Roots to work: Developing employability through community food-growing and urban agriculture

Published by City & Guilds in partnership with Sustain's Capital Growth project, this research report shows that urban food growing is an effective route to employability. Community food-growing groups and other urban agriculture projects can provide community-based learning and training opportunities, and are an effective way to develop employability for people, particularly those who face difficulties in finding and keeping work. The report identifies the support that projects need to develop employability among their participants.


Roots to work: Developing employability through community food-growing and urban agriculturePublished by the City & Guilds Centre for Skills Development and Sustain's Capital Growth, this research report shows that urban food growing is an effective route to employability.

Community food-growing groups and other urban agriculture projects can provide community-based learning and training opportunities, and are an effective way to develop employability for people, particularly those who face difficulties in finding and keeping work. The report identifies the support that projects need to develop employability among their participants.

Community food-growing projects, city farms and other urban agriculture initiatives in London already reach people who are facing particular difficulties with their employability: out of the 23 London agriculture groups interviewed, 20 include people experiencing unemployment and/or facing difficulties including physical or mental disability, addiction issues, homelessness, English language barriers, and long-term unemployment. 12 out of the 23 projects were purposefully reaching people in one or more of these situations, with the aim of helping them. They also help supported individuals at difficult times in their lives.

This report looks at how urban agriculture develops the skills and attributes that people need to develop to improve their chances of getting and staying in employment by:

  • building the confidence and social support that is a foundation for further learning
  • developing the transferable skills, including teamwork and communication, which are needed in most workplaces
  • supporting the acquisition of basic skills like literacy and numeracy where these are lacking
  • teaching technical skills which enable participants to fulfil a particular role
  • helping participants to present their skills to employers and get into work.
"Capital Growth has already created 1,300 new food growing spaces - a patchwork of mini urban farms – all across London in schools, housing estates, on canal banks and a myriad of other places. We are well on our way of achieving our final target of 2012 plots by the end of 2012. This report reveals what many people doing this work already know - which is that as well as transforming places, urban agriculture rooted firmly in our communities can transform people’s lives and lead to a better quality of city life."

London Mayor Boris Johnson, in the foreword to the Roots to Work report

Report contents

Foreword

Acknowledgements

Executive Summary

Section 1: Introduction

  • Background and aims
  • Methods
  • Structure of the report

Section 2: Confidence and social support

  • Benefits of urban agriculture
  • How well-being and confidence is developed
  • Practical outdoor tasks
  • Establishing routines and reducing stress
  • Social support and community integration

Section 3: Transferable skills

  • Benefits of urban agriculture
    • Self-management and personal responsibility
    • Problem solving
    • Teamwork and communication skills
  • Managing projects to develop transferable skills
    • Sharing out responsibilty
    • Setting goals and monitoring progress
    • Peer support
    • Conflict resolution

Section 4: Technical skills and formal qualifications

  • Benefits of urban agriculture
    • Learning skills on the job
    • Encouraging engagement in structured training and qualifications
    • Complementing basic education
  • Supporting effective training
    • Human resources
    • Funding
    • Space to dedicate to training

Section 5: Getting into work

  • Benefits of urban agriculture
    • Presenting skills to employers
    • Building networks and opportunities
    • Supporting transitions into work
    • Direct provision of jobs
    • Entrepreneurship in urban agriculture

Section 6: Conclusion and recommendations

References

Further resources: Urban agriculture project details

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30/03/2012
Capital Growth

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