There is increasing evidence about the positive impact of the natural environment on our mental health, improving sleep, reducing stress, increasing happiness and reducing negative emotions. Research has found that stress and anxiety levels in young people are reduced up to 19% after a 15-minute walk in a park and up to 31% after a walk in a forest. Yet access to high quality green space is not equally shared, with disadvantaged communities having significantly less access to their own ‘green space’ and that within 300 metres of their home. The Farm offers nature connection and land-based training opportunities, designed with and for people experiencing inequality across Bristol.
We wish to transform an underused, overlooked and inaccessible space into a ‘Green Kitchen’ to deliver outdoor cooking, growing and feasting activities. We will install a 3 metre retaining wall and remove the grass slope, build a outdoor cooking area, install organic privacy screening and build and erect wildlife homes. Once complete, the Green Kitchen will be used by 750 people per year and support wildlife and pollinators. Using a co-design method, we will work with 15 service users to design and build so that the improvements meet the needs of people with lived experience of mental ill-health, neurodivergence and/or disadvantage, discrimination or racism.
The Farm manages 18 acres of land, just 1.5 miles from Bristol city centre and has extensive experience developing and maintaining outdoor spaces. This Project will build on the success of our existing Volunteer and Wellbeing services, which engages 150 people per year, across 8 opportunities, supporting greater health and wellbeing and nature-based objectives. Learning from our recent Advocacy project and co-design experience we will ensure that beneficiaries are the heart of development. Furthermore, all activities seek to care, or enhance, local green spaces for people and planet. We have a robust Environmental Policy which will ensure we only utilise FSC sourced timber.
|Gabions and Stones to create accessible area||£1,000|
|Fire Wok/ cooking area||£500|
|Staffing and volunteer costs||£250|
The Impact of the Green Kitchen project will be achieved in two phases as show below: Co-design and build phase - 15 service users are engaged in the design and build of the project. Benefits include: • Marginalised people have greater ability to influence services through the co-design and build process • People have greater ownership and self-esteem • Marginalised people gain skills and experience that builds their confidence and may help them take up new vocational, learning or employment opportunities Use of Green Kitchen phase - 750 people per year access the Green Kitchen for growing, cooking and feasting activities, or as a green meeting space. Benefits include: • Service users feel socially connected and have stronger support networks • Service users have improved health and wellbeing including reduced mental health issues through cooking and community activities • The farms sites and facilities are better used and maintained
The Green Kitchen is the result of feedback from existing service users (people experiencing poor mental health and migrant women), and our child and youth team. Their feedback tells us that the space is: not private enough, does not offer shelter if it rains, seating is uncomfortable and not easy to look after. Some beneficiaries have also told us they would feel less anxious if they could cook/engage outdoors due to Covid-19. We can evidence how well our services by the fact that we are currently running at capacity and have numerous positive beneficiary stories/quotes including: “I feel much better when at the farm. It’s been like family during the year.” “It makes me feel happy and helps with my anxiety” “Gained skills and confidence, inspired and motivated” This project builds on recommendations in our Equity Report including: developing a culture of co-creation led by beneficiaries; collaborating with organisations who represent diverse communities; and develop ownership.