In Greenwich there are areas with high levels of social and financial poverty. There are also health inequalities around physical activity, food access, healthy eating and nutrition, obesity and mental well-being. These have been identified through the London Development Agency report on indicators of deprivation, NHS Greenwich Public Health Report and The Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). There has also been a national rise in awareness of healthy eating, food growing and food security.
Greenwich Community Development Agency (GCDA) identified a gap in skills for food growing. A need was also identified to support existing food growing projects and groups. We established our first food project in 2003. In 2007 we developed a comprehensive Business Plan to address this gap by providing training in food growing in schools, community centres, estates, residential homes for older people, specialist training for learning difficulties and mental health service users. Included is a train the trainer course to train food growing leaders, trainers to pass build the capacity of the training. GCDA also plan to provide food growing opportunities across the borough to ensure the sustainability of the project.
In 2009 we succeeded in securing funding from Local Food for 3 years to deliver the training program. In October 2009 we launched Growing Greenwich.
The Growing Greenwich Partnership is comprised of;
LBG Adults and Older People’s Services, Woodlands Farm Trust, Greenwich Older Peoples Olympiad Voice, Transition Westcombe, Church Manorway Allotments, LBG Neighbourhood Pride Team, Avant Gardening, Riverwood, LBG Woolwich Riverside, Gallions Housing, LBG Parks and Open Spaces, Greenwich Community College, Healthy Schools, Greenwich NHS, Age Concern Greenwich, Oxleas NHS, Capital Growth, Feast Your Eyes, Greenwich Community Food Co-op Walpole Estate Woolwich, Flowers Estate Abbey Wood, Barnfield Estate Woolwich, Goldie Leigh Site, Glyndon Community Centre, Turning Pages Community Centre, Albany Theatre and Community Centre, GLLAB (Greenwich Local Labour and Business), Hadlow College and Trust Thamesmead.
We’ve provided a cohesive and robust strategy to deliver all of Growing Greenwich projects.
Aims and objectives
The objective of Growing Greenwich is to create a food growing and distribution strategy, which is an inner city model of best practice and to ensure access to food growing projects for every interested Greenwich resident and organisation. This will be achieved through a comprehensive and extensive mentoring, training and volunteering programme on new and existing food growing projects.
Our aim is to create 35 new growing spaces which will partner with 25 existing projects to create 60 growing spaces, contributing to “The London Mayor’s Capital Growth target of 2,012 new growing spaces for 2012.
The principles of Growing Greenwich will be based on those of comprehensive community engagement, effective partnership and social, economic and environmental sustainability.
The project is 1 year through its 3 year funding. Since its launch in October 2009, Growing Greenwich has delivered training and grown food on 24 sites across the borough. These include 12 schools; James Wolfe, Robert Owen, Discovery, Eltham, Linton Mead, Southrise, Plumcroft, Nightingale, Timbercroft, Plumstead Manor, Rockliffe Manor and Greenslade. 94 teachers and pupils have been trained at the schools. Growing Greenwich has also delivered training in 7 Residential Homes for older people. These are ASRA, Coopers Court, Mini Bennett House, Littleheath, Wentworth House, Haven Lodge and Age Concern House, Sherrard Rd. Training has been delivered to 66 Older people in their homes/gardens. Growing Greenwich has also delivered training and garden planning to 4 Estates. These are Barnfield, Walpole, Flowers and Southern Housing. 35 adults and children have received training on their estates. Growing Greenwich has also delivered specialist training to 30 adults with learning difficulties at 341 Shooters Hill and 20 adults with Mental Health issues at Goldie Leigh.
We have promoted the project through Project partners, active recruitment in schools and community centres, local newspaper articles, events and flyers. We recruit the participants from interested residents, schools and the above promotion.
We acquired resources for 3 part-time staff and sessional tutors), capital, overheads, tools and equipment. Local Food provided funding for the staff, overheads, tools and equipment. We are negotiating with the Local Authorities for long-term use of land.
The project is evaluated through the training beneficiaries and courses. Case studies are evaluated as part of the Big Lottery Well Being evaluation. Successes are measured against the project milestones and outcomes.
We have had a problem with securing land that has involved long negotiations. These will be resolved through the Growing Greenwich Partnership Group and firming up negotiations and agreements.
The future plans include continuing to successfully deliver the funded training project. We are planning to ensure the sustainability of the project by creating new food growing opportunities, including a 26 acre urban farm in Thamesmead. We plan to generate an income from this.
We will also partner colleges to continue the training delivery and train tutors and food growing leaders to continue deliver training after the funding period in September 2012.
We are seeking research funding to deliver a comprehensive assessment of the health impact of community food growing.