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The Sports Garden Project

Protein shakes, pre-workouts, branched-chain amino acids, creatinine, multivitamins. Supplements for the elite athlete and the average gym-goers are becoming more and more accessible. They are now readily available online, in vitamin and supplement stores and in the health section of most grocery stores. But did you also know that there are natural supplements, performance enhancers and recovery aids growing around us? From basil to arnica, aloe vera to ashwagandha, many herbs and plants have unique benefits for athletic performance and physical health.


Funded by the Edible College London Small Grant Scheme, we recently set up a sport and health-focused plant garden in the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health (ISEH; link). ISEH is an international centre of excellence focusing on elite sport, amateur sport and exercise prescription, for the improvement of the health of the general population and athletic performance. We have a unique emphasis on healthy active living; many students and staff are past or current athletes with strong interests in physical activity and health.


Within offices, classrooms and common spaces, we created a diverse garden of herbs, fruits, vegetables and other plants. We wanted to improve the knowledge of our students and staff, by demonstrating the benefits of urban food growing and the edible potential of UCL’s campus. Some of these plants can be eaten, some are better in tea or water, and some are designed to be applied topically. Each plant contains a unique profile card detailing its key vitamins and minerals, benefits and instructions of how to use, as well as some general plant care suggestions.


Come back to this blog in August 2022 to see complete profiles of all 25 plants in the sports garden and learn more about hydroponic growing!


Herbs

1. Ashwagandha (Indian ginseng)

2. Basil

3. Chives

4. Coriander

5. Dill

6. Mint

7. Parsley

8. Rocket

9. Rosemary

10. Spinach

11. Thyme


Fruit

12. Goji berries

13. Red strawberries

14. Rhubarb red Swiss chard

15. Sea buckthorn

16. White strawberries


Vegetable

17. Cayenne pepper

18. Cherry tomato

19. Courgette

20. Lettuce

21. Peas

22. Sweet pepper

23. Tomato


Other

24. Aloe vera

25. Tillandsia (air plants)

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