The Wild Roots Project

Catsham, Somerset, UK

The Wild Roots Project is a thriving group working with adults experiencing poor mental health and physical and intellectual disabilities. Volunteers with or without support workers are welcome to help with horticultural and rural craft activities. Growing for Wellbeing Group is mainly aimed at people with autism. They’re all about the people and the plants, but sometimes the former takes all the lead. The group manages to grow vegetables for nutritious soup lunches for the volunteers and visiting school groups. Their horticultural activities form the backbone of the work while providing emotional support, routine, structure and social contact for those who come along. Informal chats in the polytunnel or while weeding are an excellent opportunity to talk through problems and voice worries; there’s something about being outdoors with hands in the dirt that makes everyday concerns more manageable. Make, do and mend is at the heart of their work. With adapted tools, easy-to-use wheelbarrows and planting plans designed for easy harvests, they strive to take their growing ventures one day at a time and not worry too much about the weeds or other gardening mistakes. In their own words, “Like our flower beds, we’re all a bit messy around the edges, and none of us is perfect, but we think this is a fair reflection of everyday life and nothing to be ashamed of.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.

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Vegetable grower, natural beekeeper and edible spaces designer. Lover of all soil and urban farming techniques. Former head of growing at Incredible Aquagarden.