Let’s find out about the Green Patch!
7 weeks ago
A short walk through the metal gates and you’ll find yourself in the buzz of the Green Patch community allotment. Tucked away on the edge of the Grange Estate in Kettering, the Green Patch is an award-winning community garden project run by Groundwork Northants, which I was lucky enough to choose as a case study for my research into the benefits of community gardening as part of my masters degree in Public Sociology at the University of Northampton. I spent 9 days there in March and April this year, joining in and observing what went on and was treated to a range of activities from gardening, to cooking, to yoga and more!
As well as chatting to people and learning more about the project, some lovely participants joined me in taking photos and telling me their stories of the Green Patch and why they loved it. I also did a survey on their great Facebook page where Green Patch followers gave me some feedback on what they thought about the Green Patch, the things they enjoyed and the value it provided for them and their communities.
I was not surprised at what I found: “fresh air and being outside” were the words I heard most often, “inclusive”, “nurturing” and “a place of peace” were others. Many told me that spending time at Green Patch helped to keep them healthy, with eight in ten saying it helped their mental health and five in ten mentioned the benefits of being outside in nature. Others enjoyed learning about the environment and feeding the chickens. Everyone felt it was an important resource for their community. However, although people loved the gardening, the wildlife and the animals, the thing people told me they enjoyed the most was the company, “chatting with others”, “spending time with family”, being with the people here”, the social side of things in fact, the “community” in the gardening.
I loved my time at Green Patch, being with the volunteers and the staff and I appreciate the time they all freely gave to help me with my research. I used this to create a display of their quotes and photos which you can find for a short time in their wonderful outdoor shelter. Thanks, Green Patch for sharing it all with me, I’ll see you all again soon!
- Patricia McCourt