Every Wednesday and Thursday, the Green Doctor groups meet at Glasshouse number 1 at the Horticultural Centre, Wythenshawe Park. These are drop-in sessions where people can learn all about food plus how to grow and harvest vegetables. If people just want to come along to have a chat and enjoy good company and a cup of tea then they are welcome too!
This activity is part of the Real Food Wythenshawe project promoting sustainable food and aims to introduce participants and visitors to the issues around environmental change and food security. It is a drop-in group so numbers vary week on week, but on average they see around 12 people each Wednesday, less on Thursdays.
Being a part of the group has massive mental and physical health benefits. Encouraging people to grow and eat their own fruit and vegetables is obviously good for physical health, as the movement that comes with gardening. Their members also speak of the mental health benefits of the work, which includes making new friends!
Sarah said "How we grow and consume our food needs to change if we are to tackle the climate emergency. For example, an enormous amount of food in the UK is imported, which means this food will most likely have a vast carbon footprint. Our group reconnects people with their food. We teach people how they can make changes about the way they interact with food, for example teaching people how they can grow their own food – therefore reducing the reliance on imported food - even in an urban environment. This education about food and its impact upon the climate emergency is so important in the fight against climate change".
Participants speak of making new friends and feeling healthier in their body and minds. They also speak about how much they have learnt about food, including how to eat better, how to grow their own food and also the way we grow and consume food has upon the climate emergency.
Liz - “I started being part of this group as I wanted to give something back to the community, and I get back as much as I put in. I meet people from all walks of life, share recipes, and grow my own food…it is very good!”
Sandra - “I have made loads of friends doing this…have learnt cooking skills….and some of the recipes I have learnt are really good!”