London Co-production Network visit the Lambeth GP Food Co-op
The Lambeth GP Food Co-op is a cooperative of patients, doctors, nurses and Lambeth residents who work together to grow food. It is funded by Lambeth Council and NHS Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group. The Co-op began in March 2013, building gardens inside GP surgeries which are designed to enable patients and others to learn how to grow food in a safe and secure environment. They are now working with 10 GP surgeries across the Borough, with new surgeries set to join in 2015/16. The Co-op contributes to putting co-production into action and aims, over time, to improve the health and well-being of participants and the wider community.
On Tuesday 25 November, a group from the London Co-production Network visited Lambeth Group Practice in Lambeth North to understand how the GP Food Co-op operates. We were shown round the gardens which were set up in previously dead space, in an alley at the side of the GP surgery. Large planters had been used to grow courgettes, strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes and more. The planters are made in Brixton as part of the Cooperative by young people, who later visited to take selfies of themselves with the vegetables. In this densely populated area, few people have gardens, but anyone attending the GP surgery can become involved in food growing.
“The project provides a safe and familiar space, a GP surgery, for patients to lean how to grow food at their own pace and in a friendly supportive environment.”
– Ed Rosen