As regular readers of our Sow Study Sustain Newsletter on LinkedIn will know (sign up here) Sow Study Sustain, a program devised by UK-based Ecolearn CIC and now delivered by Lincolnshire Outdoor Learning, is more than just a community gardening initiative. It’s a vibrant tapestry woven from the threads of circular economy, health and well-being, inter-generational bonding, and, of course LOL , the joy of growing healthy food together.

We are truly are doing exceptional things and believe our biodiversity model has the potential to make a real difference in communities around the world

Circular Economy at our Core:

Imagine a world where waste is not waste, but a valuable resource. That’s the essence of the circular economy, and it’s deeply embedded in Sow Study Sustain’s model. Here’s how:

  • Composting: Kitchen scraps and garden waste are transformed into nutrient-rich compost, feeding the soil and reducing landfill contributions.
  • Water Harvesting: Rainwater is collected and used for irrigation, minimizing reliance on tap water and reducing strain on local resources.
  • Upcycling: Old materials like pallets and tires are given new life as garden beds, planters, and furniture, promoting creativity and resourcefulness.

Nurturing Health and Well-being:

Sow Study Sustain recognizes the profound connection between food, community, and personal well-being. Here’s how they cultivate a healthy environment:

  • Physical Activity: Gardening provides gentle exercise, promoting physical health and combating sedentary lifestyles.
  • Stress Reduction: Immersing oneself in nature and working with soil has proven benefits for mental health and stress reduction.
  • Healthy Food: Growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs encourages consumption of fresh, nutritious food, leading to better dietary choices.

Bridging Generations:

Sow Study Sustain fosters a sense of community and connection across generations. Here’s how they bridge the age gap:

  • Mentorship: Experienced gardeners share their knowledge and skills with younger generations, perpetuating traditional techniques and fostering cultural exchange.
  • Shared Learning: Children learn about food production, environmental responsibility, and the value of community through hands-on experiences.
  • Family Activities: Gardening becomes a shared activity, strengthening family bonds and creating lasting memories.

Food as the Foundation:

At the heart of it all lies food. Sow Study Sustain empowers communities to take control of their food security and nourishment:

  • Growing Diverse Crops: A variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs are cultivated, ensuring access to a range of nutrients and dietary needs.
  • Local Food Production: Reducing reliance on supermarket supply chains and promoting consumption of fresh, local produce.
  • Food Skills Development: Participants learn how to grow, harvest, and prepare food, fostering self-reliance and food literacy.

Despite no external funding in 2023 and 2021 (and just £10k from the Lottery in 2021) Sow Study Sustain and Ecolearn offer a refreshing and inspiring model for building resilient communities, promoting well-being and reconnecting with nature. By embracing circular economy principles, nurturing health and inter-generational bonds and celebrating the joy of growing food together, we put LOL into life, sowing the seeds for a brighter, more sustainable future.

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