Grow Organic

Aim: To promote healthy eating and exercise through growing food

Children polled recently on our Scotchman Road allotment preferred young spinach leaves to red and green lettuce in their salad. Having finished their tasting, they went on to check the progress of their red, blue and ‘normal’ potatoes, the courgettes planted the week before, and the apple and pear trees. They pounced enthusiastically upon the few ripe redcurrants, looking forward to the next weeks when they will be able have their fill of them. Then down to work: they cleared a bed of weeds, planted out leeks and runner beans, and watered it all in carefully. Weeds go in the compost bin, making garden food.

This is not the image that we get of children, plaiting garlic on BCEP's allotmentsplaiting garlic on BCEP's allotmentswho are expected to dislike greens and know nothing about where there food comes from.

BCEP’s Grow Organic! Programme works across Bradford and District to promote healthy eating through food growing for children and youth groups, and for ‘hard to reach’ groups, particularly women of South Asian origin. It offers ongoing sessions either on our allotment plots or in the school/ community centre’s own grounds, as well as one-off sessions for a group or as a drop-in workshop at public events. It also offers training in organic food growing, allotment cultivation and related activities for child-care practitioners, community workers and for those wanting to know more about working with plants in multicultural communities. Free consultations are provided for schools and community groups interested in growing their own.

The programme also organises a local best garden competition, Manningham in Bloom, which succeeds in bringing together all sections of the community.

Each year, we hold an allotments open day to encourage newcomers to our plots, and to enable those who work there already to show off their achievements. Other programmes/organisations join us at the event, and the end result is a magical event with a huge range of opportunities for all: music, art, harvesting, They are also encouraged to enter the annual Organic Fruit and Vegetable Show, where they have gained many awards over recent years.

The staff team is experienced and enthusiastic, and well respected for their work. A flexible approach means that we try to tailor our service to what the setting wants. Enabling others to continue the work is central to our philosophy, passing on skills, knowledge - and confidence - at every opportunity.

Safety is always important, and we ensure safe use of real tools, an understanding of poisonous/irritant plants as part of our standard service.

Health messages are key to Grow Organic! as gardening is recognised as beneficial exercise, as well as a way to get fresh, organic produce. Healthy eating is integral to our work, and participants enjoy the taste of what they themselves have grown. Gardening also addresses mental health, giving a sense of well-being and achievement, providing a social space for collaboration and relaxation, providing opportunities for calm contemplation and connection with the natural world. The programme targets communities of need and ‘difficult to reach’ groups, helping to reduce health inequalities across the District.

Funding Body: Bradford and Airedale teaching Primary Care Trust


United Kingdom
53° 48' 22.752" N, 1° 46' 17.2776" W


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