The key elements of the Edible Estates approach are set out below.
Greenspace, Health & Wellbeing
Over the past couple of years there has been increased interest and recognition of the capacity for community food growing projects to increase the health & wellbeing of individuals and communities.  There is now a growing body of evidence to support it and a consequent raft of policies on the part of the NHS and Government to encourage community food growing.  We’ve provided two extracts below.

Growing Projects: Harnessing the Opportunities – NHS Report

“While the overall health of the Scottish population is improving health inequalities remain a considerable challenge. People with low incomes and living in areas classified as having high levels of deprivation often have poorer mental health and wellbeing. 

Community growing projects can help to address the health inequalities existing within communities. They work in a multifaceted manner to help address the social determinants of health. They can promote access to a nutritious diet, physical activity and mental well-being while fostering a sense of social inclusion and community cohesion. In addition community gardens help to address the national and international agenda on climate change as they reflect the ideals of sustainability, biodiversity and a greener environment. 

Community gardening engages a wide variety of people, providing them with the opportunity to grow and eat a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables while also encouraging social interaction. Often they are located in areas of low socioeconomic status or among groups of people experiencing health inequalities. To date many community gardening projects have had a significant role to play in encouraging people suffering from physical and psychological problems back to health. 

Over 70% of the population believe that spending time in their gardens is of benefit to their quality of life. However the opportunity to garden is quite often not a reality for those individuals and families occupying flats and apartments or living in areas of urban sprawl. Community gardens and allotments make provision for these individuals to access garden space.   

Community growing projects are an under-utilised health promotion tool that can help to address the nutritional needs, physical activity levels and mental wellbeing of different population groups. One of the key benefits in pursuing these projects is undoubtedly the fact that one project can deliver so many positive outcomes. In addition they are a cost effective method to help tackle health inequalities particularly at a time when resources are stretched and projects under funded. At there very best community gardens and growing projects can:
  • Instigate the development of support networks and promote acceptance and integration among different members of the community;
  • Empower local people by building their capacity to deal with social situations enabling them to take a more active role in their community;
  • Improve and benefit the mental health and wellbeing of participants, reducing anxiety and promoting feelings of happiness;
  • Improve the physical appearance of a local area, beyond that of the garden boundaries.
  • Promote physical activity among children and adults in a fun and interactive environment.”
Ailish O’Neill, Lothian NHS Trust, 2010.

Introduction To Cultivating Urban Greenspace Symposium

“The myriad benefits of urban greenspace are well documented. Green environments bring better self-perceived health, lower blood pressure, lower levels of overweight and obesity, and lower mortality risks. Even viewing greenspace can bring reduced healing times, restoration from stress/mental fatigue, reduced domestic violence, and a greater sense of well-being and neighbourhood satisfaction. 

At a community-level, the presence of and shared activity in (well-maintained) greenspaces can increase perceptions of safety and reduce crime, lead to a change in social norms, assist in developing stronger socio-cultural networks and opportunities for inclusion, combat social isolation, and enhance community capacity and civic pride. 

At an individual level, activities such as gardening can provide an often absent sense of effectiveness and/or control, increase physical fitness, reduce stress, and heighten one’s capacity to think clearly. Gardens themselves are valued for their tranquillity, privacy, and ontological security, particularly when the surrounding local environment is poor, and are places of attachment and affection. 

These factors are all particularly important in deprived areas, which often have relatively few publicly accessible greenspaces, and for residents in high-rise or multi-unit housing where a lack of territorial control over shared space or opportunity for social interaction can impact negatively on mental health.”

Nina Morris, University of Edinburgh, 2011.
Contact Us

If you are interested in setting up an Edible Estates project in your neighbourhood please contact us:-

info@edibleestates.co.uk
0781 729 2464