The Power of Grandparent Gardening

Have you watched ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’ yet? If not, you absolutely must.

It’s a reality show with a difference. The premise is simple, there’s an old people’s home, there is a group of 4 year olds and they’re pushed into a room together. The outcomes are magical. Sure enough, there’s some resistance to get on-board at the beginning. But, eventually the benefits of spending time with different age groups shine through. The study of such things is known as gerontology. The practice is more generally known as intergenerational learning.

Why should that belong in a blog for Vauxhall City Farm? Where’s the relevance for you, our amazing visitors and supporters? Well, we want to do our own version!

I know we’re not a nursery or an old folk’s home, but we are a hub for the community and that’s a very important point to us. We exist to improve our local group’s lives, wellbeing and physical health and we’re lucky enough to have access to a really enriching green space – our garden.

We are very keen to start an intergenerational gardening club – which we’ll be calling Grandparent Gardening.

We still want the aged community involved, we still want the pre-school children involved, then we’ll simply replace the old people’s home for our community garden. We believe that the opportunities in a project like this are endless.

Most importantly:

  • We want to offer a platform for young and old to engage in a healthy activity that lends itself really well to knowledge exchange and learning
  • We want to offer access to our safe, green space so different groups can experience the joy of growing and seeing where our food comes from
  • We want to promote social cohesion between groups that don’t always have the opportunity to mix

Disclaimer: This is of course all being planned for when vaccinations have been rolled out and things are totally safe. Why? Because providing for vulnerable groups prone to isolation and loneliness and in need of further support will be even more important when Covid is thankfully a distant memory.

What’s more, there are scientifically proven outcomes that we want to emulate here on the farm. Intergenerational or Grandparent Gardening has been shown to:

  • Create a link between groups that promotes respect and greater understanding of all group’s needs
  • Develop both group’s levels of competency in day-to-day tasks, increasing esteem and wellbeing
  • Inspire dialogue between groups and harbour a better understanding of collaboration and cooperation in the community
  • Foster solidarity, active citizenship and personal development, and even show improvements in physical health

Take a look at Generations Working Together’s booklet, it’s a great extension of what I’m writing about here.

I (and the entire team at Vauxhall City Farm) have a real passion to get a programme like this on the road to reality. But, we want to hear from you first.

If:

  • You or someone you know, would be interested in being involved,
  • You know of any similar programmes/like minded groups we should reach out to,
  • Or you have any questions at all…

Get in touch via the education inbox: education@vauxhallcityfarm. We really want to hear your thoughts and make this passion-project come to life.

Let’s get this show on the road, as they say,

Chris

Education & Partnerships Manager @ Vauxhall City Farm

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