Study reveals multiple benefits for people growing food

Coaxing people to grow fruit and vegetables not only improves health and saves on grocery bills but also builds stronger community ties, researchers have proved.

The study involved households and volunteers on the Master Gardener mentoring programme launched by the charity Garden Organic in 2010. Almost three-quarters of households grew more food than before while even experienced gardeners increased their produce. A quarter of households said they had cut their food bills.

Coventry University researcher Dr Moya Kneafsey said: "A key finding was on social impact - people felt more part of the community and built up relationships."

Two-thirds felt their sense of community had increased. Average life satisfaction scores for volunteers and households rose and people ate more fresh produce.

Garden Organic project manager Philip Turvil said: "We don't want to just teach our volunteers the best way of growing a cabbage. We want to teach them how to pass this information on to others in their community."

For further details, see www.mastergardeners.org.uk.


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