Custom Food Lab believe that this is a key time to be creating regenerative community spaces. Whilst based in the Locavore Garden, the Locavore Growing Project will be creating a much wider intergenerational network of growers and growing spaces, working with care homes around Folkestone and Hythe. In the pilot stage, we will be creating a “food forest” at Brampton Lodge care home and ultimately linking up with students from Martello Primary school and volunteers at the Locavore Garden. Volunteers can ‘buddy up’ with a care home resident, with the aim of reducing isolation and improving mental health.

Manager of Brampton Lodge care home, Michelle Baker responded enthusiastically to Charlene’s invitation to be involved in the project: ‘I am grateful of anything to help with mental health and had so many plans of getting involved with the local community but the virus put a bit of a halt to this. Your email brightened my Friday morning! We would absolutely love to be involved, thank you so much for asking’

The project bridges the gap between young and old, with mutual visits to each others gardens, and swapping seeds and plants. Intergenerational activities can help different age groups relate to and value one another – reducing ageism, dismantling stereotypes and increasing empathy for one another. Acknowledging the huge bank of knowledge about growing practices and historic food systems that the older members of our community hold, we are also looking forward to creating opportunities for intergenerational knowledge exchange. Additionally, older adults, particularly those with dementia and similar cognitive impairments have been shown to have improved memory and a more positive outlook as a result of interacting with young children. Not only that, children also benefit enormously from the unconditional attention a relationship with an older person can provide – their confidence improves, as well vocabulary. This brings benefits to the wider community.

Charlene, Custom’s Community Project Manager: ‘I am thrilled that we are in a position to bring schools and care homes together and to harness the community spirit demonstrated during the height of the pandemic. Being at the start of my own garden and permaculture journey myself, I am acutely aware of the benefits it has made to my own mental and physical health and I look forward to sharing that with others’.


Custom Food Lab are currently looking to recruit a team of food growing enthusiasts who are interested in supporting the local community and building up their food growing skills. Experience welcome, but passion essential – training is provided.

Please contact Charlene Jones,  Community Project Manager to find out more: