The International People Plant Symposium (IPPS)

Date: 11th - 12th July 2024
Location: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Reading, Berkshire

With the theme of ‘Cultivation of Human Health Through Horticulture’, the 16th International People Plant Symposium takes place this summer. Over 35 presentations will provide the most comprehensive demonstration of the Social and Therapeutic Horticulture (STH) sector in the UK to date.

Hosted by Thrive, the UK’s national charity promoting gardening for health and wellbeing, the event takes place in the UK on 11-12th July 2024 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Reading, Berkshire. Thrive is co-convening the Symposium with the Horticulture Therapy Institute and Konkuk University.

Damien Newman, Training, Education and Consultancy Manager at Thrive says: “The 16th IPPS provides an incredible opportunity for all those with an interest in horticulture for health to continue their own learning and the development of their real-world aspirations. Our extensive line-up provides the fullest conference in our sector to date in the UK, making this a must-attend event.”

This year’s symposium theme is highly relevant to all those with an interest in horticulture for health including social and therapeutic practitioners, the green care sector, medical professionals, academics and researchers, who will have the opportunity to engage with a diverse range of global perspectives on horticulture's role in promoting health and wellbeing.

This year’s extensive speaker line-up of 28 esteemed researchers and professionals provides a full spectrum of STH from gardening lifestyle to professional intervention:

Keynote speaker Dr Rachel Bragg will address horticulture for health. Dr Bragg is a passionate advocate for using nature in all its forms to benefit human health. Rachel has been actively involved in the development and promotion of green care, care farming and STH sectors in the UK for the last twenty years. As a researcher and author of important publications in relation to nature for health from the green care conceptual framework to nature-based interventions in mental health, Rachel is well placed to provide the keynote address.


Exploring more specific areas:

Dr Sue Stuart-Smith, author of Sunday Times book of the year The Well Gardened Mind, is a prominent psychiatrist and psychotherapist, and became the lead clinician for psychotherapy in Hertfordshire. Sue’s background provides her with a very firm grasp of how gardening and plants are good for everyone’s health.

Sam Alford, Head of Nature Connections at The Eden Project, has worked in the health and social care arena with the NHS, local government and the not-for-profit sector. Sam led the national cross-governmental Green Social Prescribing Programme to Tackle and Prevent Mental Ill-health and will address how multiple health and wellbeing services can be delivered and targeted to multiple groups.

Anna Baker Cresswell, founded the Gardening Leave charity providing horticultural therapy for veterans and the HighGround charity alongside a new Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre.Anna’s work led to Horticultural Therapy becoming an accredited defence output. She offers valuable insight in using STH in a therapeutic model as part of a multidisciplinary approach.

Dr Olivia Chapple, is founder and Chair of Trustees at Horatio's Garden, the charity working to create sustainable, biodiverse gardens in challenging clinical environments, bringing nature's benefits close to those facing life-changing injuries. With thousands of beneficiaries, Horatio’s gardens demonstrate how gardens can be supportive of all in clinical care.

With more speakers covering various approaches to using nature and horticulture in different settings from schools to palliative care and alternative methodologies for assessing the impact, the presentations will offer a richness across the symposium theme. Additionally, there will be 11 poster presentations, interesting discussion groups and valuable networking opportunities.

The delegate ticket price of £325 provides access to the symposium on the 11th and 12th July including lunch and a welcome dinner.

Find out more and book your place at

Bookings close on Friday 21st June 2024.