BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 30 Apr '15

GPs and healthcare professionals ‘prescribe’ gardening for their patients

The health and wellbeing benefits of gardening and food growing are increasingly being recognised, leading to a rise in the number of projects commissioned by The NHS and public health, the Growing Health project has found.

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Gardening and health

Gardening prescriptions are being championed by a growing movement of charities and healthcare organisations that want gardening and food growing to be seen as a key activity for public health, general health and social care.

Many of these projects engage people at risk of ill health and in areas of high social deprivation, providing physical and mental health benefits as well as helping to reduce social isolation.

‘Investing and supporting food growing and gardening as part of our health service is a cost-effective way to improve health as well as prevent ill health.’

Professor Jeremy Levy, Director of Education and Quality at Health Education North West London

Prescribing Gardening conference

This topic will be discussed by leading healthcare professionals at a forthcoming conference, Prescribing Gardening – making green care a natural part of the health service, in London on Wednesday 27 May.

The day is for commissioners and healthcare professionals to see and taste for themselves the benefits of food growing for people who have been given a ‘green prescription’.

It will take place in the beautiful setting of Phoenix High School Farm, in the White City Estate, which is one of Hammersmith Community Garden Association’s (HGCA) therapeutic gardening projects. 

‘The course made a dramatic difference to my life and I very quickly started feeling physically better. My age and the years of self-abuse and stress had taken their toll but attending the Get Out There gardening project put a real spring in my step.’

Kevin Bittan, project coordinator and former project volunteer

Growing Health

The programme includes an expert panel of speakers including Professor Jeremy Levy MA PhD FHEA FRCP, who will be presenting ‘Commissioning gardening and food growing to promote health’.

Doctor Cavanagh, GP at Brook Green Medical Centre and CCG board member, will be looking at ‘Gardening for health – a GP’s perspective’. Other project highlights include a public health commissioned project in Tower Hamlets.

The conference is part of the Growing Health project run by Sustain, Garden Organic and HGCA Plant a Seed – Grow Well project. It is supported by the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens. Click here to book (suggested donation £20).