A number of community gardens are run (or hosted) by organisations that seek to promote social cohesion — such as better community relations and collaboration between neighbours — and health, such as mental health and healthy eating.
Healthy Living Networks, young offenders probation services, hospitals, protected homes for single mothers, street drinker rehabilitation services, mental health support centres, food banks, faith based organisations, refugee and asylum seeker food growing projects, are just a few examples of the type of organisations that have established ‘healing gardens’ and food growing projects of some sort.
These organisations have turned to food growing for a number of reasons: growing food has been proved to be beneficial because brings the opportunity for a deeper contact with nature, its colour, smells, and enchanting power, which has healing effects. Food growing is recognised as a beneficial activity that can positively impact on mental health, lead to healthier lifestyles, become a motivation for further education in food and horticulture, constitute and opportunity for social mingling and community building.
These projects, however, face a number of problems. Isolation, lack of volunteers, insecure land tenures, lack of skills for the organisations of convivial events that could make them more visible in the neighbourhood, etc.
In this workshop we have explored some of these issues. A speaker from the Leeds City Council, Parks and Countryside services, Rebecca Meers, presented the draft of a booklet in preparation, aimed at guiding citizens and third sector organisation through the documents that needs to be submitted to be in line local council health and safety procedures. Roxana Summers and Ellen Robottom have respectively presented their projects (“Back to Front” and “Hyde Park Neighbourhood Food-Growing project”) and the way they are impacting on social cohesion in two neighbourhoods in Leeds.
In the more interactive part of the workshops participants had the opportunity to plan convivial events, with the direct support and advice of Rebecca, and to contribute to the construction of a seasonal calendar of Leeds’ food growing sessions, that can help to support the exchange of volunteers across Leeds.
|Introduction, Chiara Tornaghi|
|Back to Front, Roxana Summers|
|Event Risk Assessment Template|
|Example Event Risk Assessment|
|Guidance on Organising Community Events in Leeds’ Greens Spaces|
|Parks Event Application Form|