Transforming spaces, changing lives – Lambeth GP Food Co-op

1 November 2017

Written by: Lambeth Council

Food > Health and Wellbeing

Lambeth GP Food Co-op is a co-operative of patients, doctors, nurses, and Lambeth people who have created a network of food growing gardens across the NHS in Lambeth.

Woman in blue among green plants on tall poles in Brockwell Park GP surgery garden

The Lambeth GP Food Co-op was launched in 2013. Ed Rosen, Director, said:

“We build gardens in GP surgeries – GPs are the NHS’ front door. There are 45 GP surgeries in Lambeth and 13 now have gardens. We transform spaces, making them more open to people. Some gardens are in alleyways; patients have been growing food at King’s College Hospital for two years now. The co-op works with Medirest hospital caterers, who have a monthly stall in their restaurant where we sell patient-grown vegetables from across the Borough.

“We could never have got off the ground without Lambeth Council’s support.”

How it works

“We transform spaces, making them more open to people. Patients have been growing vegetables in a food garden at King’s College Hospital for two years. Hospital caterers Medirest hold a monthly stall in their restaurant where we sell vegetables grown by patients from across the Borough.”

Established gardens

One of the first GP food co-op gardens, Brockwell Park Surgery Garden, won a 2017 ‘Blooming Lambeth’ prize. The garden was designed with wheelchair accessible paths and raised beds. Extra vegetables, fruit and herbs are sold in the surgery to encourage patients to connect with the source of their food.

Word from the Council

“The Lambeth Food Co-op gardens are a great idea that improve mental and physical wellbeing, providing social interaction, friendship and a place of tranquillity. We love food growing in Lambeth, and are always looking for ways to get people healthier and happier.” – Cllr. Sonia Winifred

New plans

The latest planned garden is in Stockwell. It’s the first to be developed with support from a housing association. 61 patients have already volunteered. “The planting plan includes replacing some old trees that block the light and prevent growth, with new fruit trees,” explains Ed Rosen. “Patients with arthritis and diabetes find gardening therapeutic, patients bring friends and grandchildren – it all helps overcome isolation and builds community.”

‘Best initiative’

The GP food co-op have been named “best sustainable food initiative in the NHS”. This year they won a national “Excellence in Participation” NHS England Award. They recently launched a video (https://www.facebook.com/NHS/videos/2018385338445598/) where doctors and patients talk about the therapeutic, social and economic benefit of gardens as an environment to promote wellbeing.

Growing all over the country

“People all over the country can – and do – start GP gardens. Our plans for the future include possibly working with Lambeth Larder to help people in food poverty.”

 

For more information

Lambeth GP Food Co-op

Meet the residents, patients, doctors and nurses involved in Lambeth GP Food Co-op who build gardens in GP surgeries.Lambeth Food Co-op is a co-operative of patients, doctors, nurses, and Lambeth people who have created a network of food growing gardens across the NHS in Lambeth. Patients – especially those with long term health conditions – learn how to grow food in a safe and secure environment. Groups are led by nurses who are trained and experienced master gardeners.

Posted by NHS on Friday, 13 October 2017

 

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