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What we do > MADaboutART > What we do > Growing to live

Growing to live

How our food garden is helping to sustain children and families across our community
17 Sep 2021
What we do

Along with the important role education plays at the MAD centre, we also provide food security for children and the wider community - over 150 meals every day! Our community garden is at the heart of making this possible, and we’ve been working to grow many different types of veggies and use them to create healthy, nutritious meals that make all the difference for growing kids.

Deacon, aged 18, is a MAD youth ambassador and has worked in the garden for 2 years, helping to tend the different patches and teaching the younger children how to grow a range of vegetables. Helping out in his community has inspired Deacon to seek out a role where he can continue this in the future; he hopes to become a firefighter. 

Deacon & Thimna, fellow MAD ambassador, at the MAD centre, 2021

Working at MAD has helped Deacon to find more than just green fingers, he says that the good advice given by his fellow ambassadors, as well as Beaty and the MAD team, has contributed to his hard-working mindset. 

Keanon, aged 14, also assists with the garden, planting veggies and helping the children learn more about the food they eat. His favourite thing about MAD is being around the children and seeing them benefit from a safe environment to learn and have fun. So much so that he wants to become a teacher when he’s older!

Keanon tending to the crops in the garden, 2021

The garden is more than just a practical means to feed hungry mouths; it’s a hive of activity and a place for children to learn great skills. It also brings sustainability to the MAD centre, with a growing range of herbs and vegetables harvested, there’s enough produce now to provide food packages to those most in need in our community. 

During COVID, particularly during this third wave that we experienced, many people lost livelihoods and struggled to provide for their families. We’ve been able to step in to help with healthy home-cooked meals and food packages, and our garden has been at the heart of this. 

Try this MAD recipe at home - it’s packed with nutritious, healthy ingredients!

This meal was created by MAD youth ambassador Thimna as a vegetarian option for the kids to try. She hopes it will encourage healthy eating. There are no set quantities, just vary the amounts depending on the number of portions needed.


  • Onions, sliced
  • Green vegetables fresh from the garden – we used spinach, cabbage, brussels sprouts, with carrots for extra flavour
  • Beef or chicken stock
  • Soya mince
  • Garlic, crushed
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Curry powder
  • Black pepper
  • Rice

For the greens

  1. Fry onions
  2. Dice and combine greens and carrots 
  3. Put everything in a big pot and add water
  4. Cook on a low heat until soft (but not too soft!)
  5. Drain and it’s ready to serve
  6. Cook rice in salted water

For the savoury mince

  1. Fry onions and garlic in a big pot
  2. Add water and bring to a boil
  3. Soak soya mince in water for 20 minutes and add to the pot
  4. Add beef stock and tinned tomatoes, and flavour with curry powder and black pepper
  5. Simmer until thickened and you’re good to go!

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Registered office
3 Clarence Street
Durham DH6 5BB

MADaboutART is a charity registered in England and Wales (reg. no. 1093147) and a company limited by guarantee registered in England (reg. no 4257716)

MADaboutART Trust (reg. no. 14178/06) in South Africa is a registered non-profit organisation (115-997 NPO) and public benefit organisation (930031296)

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