Gardening is good for you and growing veg can be cure for depressed and anxious
Aug 18 Th , 2014
By Charlotte Ward
Caring Jennie Street has turned her love of growing veg into a cure for the depressed and anxious.
She knew from 40 years of experience that work outdoors helps banish the blues by raising serotonin levels.
So in 2011 she created a project to coax people with a fear of going outside and other anxiety disorders to grow produce.
Now Rhubarb Farm in Langwith, Derbys, has helped more than 200 volunteers.
Begun on two acres of ex-allotment land, it grows 52 varieties of fruit and veg that are distributed weekly with surplus sold.
Volunteers range from those with mental and physical ill-health to former addicts and ex-offenders.
After securing £239,961 from the Big Lottery Fund in 2012 Jennie started the farm’s Buddies project.
She explains: “Often people with long term mental health issues need a lot of support to make progress.
“We needed people to encourage them to come through the gate.”
One of the farm’s biggest successes is Sam, 23, who has overcome agoraphobia to take a key role.
Her job has been made possible through the Lottery-funded Talent Match scheme.
Sam used to be terrified of working in groups.
Jennie said: “Eighteen months later she has totally changed.”
The Lottery grant has also enabled Rhubarb Farm to employ other staff.
With qualified trainers and assessors it now offers volunteers a LANTRA qualification in horticulture.
And Jennie would like to keep branching out.
She says: “If you look forward with a can-do attitude it’s amazing what you can achieve.”
Credit: Daily Mirror Link : http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/gardening-good-you-growing-veg-4071751