Urban Growing

Islington is one of the boroughs with the least green space in London

We love nothing more than collaborating with our local communities to identify unloved and underused spaces with the aim of transforming them into community gardening and food growing spaces.

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We love growing communities!

Being outdoors and accessing nature can boost well-being, increase fitness levels, and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. The NHS cites being outside, getting active and learning new skills are some of the best ways to improve mental wellbeing.

The health benefits of greenspaces have demanded the attention of policymakers since the 1800s. Analysis of 143 studies show statistically significant reductions in blood pressure and heart rate, significant decreases in the incidence of diabetes, and how greenspace and street greenery form part of a multi-faceted approach to improving a wide range of health outcomes.

Couple the above with the opportunities for outdoor learning through gardening and food growing, for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, and the results can be amazing.

Outdoor learning can involve working with others, developing new skills, undertaking practical conversation and influencing society.

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Environmental summer school - still lots to enjoy in urban parks.

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Exploring the great outdoors - it's starting to feel a lot like autumn and it's the time of year when fungi start to appear in vast numbers.

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Summer in the city ... an abundance of herbs for bees and humans to enjoy.

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The Framework has enabled us to plan the measurements that we would employ for each outcome and indicator defined for the project to ensure that we had appropriate evaluation methods in place. It has also enabled us to be clear in our evidence-based approach in collecting and collating both qualitative and quantitative data.

Our Urban Wild Places team is constantly seeking to improve skills in evaluation and the measurement of impact. So, we participated in a Theory of Change workshop where we were guided in the development of a Theory of Change Evaluation Framework for the project.

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Back in 2013, Natural England commissioned research (Black Environment Network) to investigagte how to establish a more sustainable way of suporting the engagement of Black, Asian and other ethnic minority communities under-represented in accessing the 'natural world', particularly those living in urban and deprived areas.

The Natural England report cites that people from BAME communities are 60% less likely to connect with the natural environment, and goes on to suggest that one of the problems found was the lack of networks, lack of knowledge and experience of environmental organisations working with BAME communities in urban environments and lack of heritage knowledge.  Our Urban Wild Places project aims to address this.

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