Want to support our latest 10xGreener project in CH1, Chester? Click here.
Nature shouldn’t be limited to our parks and countryside. It can thrive anywhere if it’s given a helping hand, and you don’t have to be an expert to do this. 10xGreener is a creative way to engage communities in making neighbourhoods better for people and nature.
We know that community gardening initiatives and greener urban spaces promote physical and emotional wellbeing, build community solidarity and ownership, create climate resilience and create new habitats for birds, bees, and other biodiversity. We know that many people want to see greener and heathier cities.
The key challenge is that most people don’t have the time or money to support and maintain this in the long-term. To tackle this, we are testing how to build a community-led business model that could make greener streets accessible to everyone and sustainable in the longer term.
After a successful pilot engaging a community in Hackney, the Experiments team at Friends of the Earth have developed what we’re calling a Postcode Gardener model. This enables communities to fundraise in order to hire a Postcode Gardener to work for a specific location, tackling publicly visible areas such as front gardens and disused spaces, and involving the community in the process.
What is a Postcode Gardener?
Think of a Postcode Gardener as a combination of community gardener and community organiser. They’re experts at getting people outdoors, sharing the skills you need to create wonderfully green streets, and putting the community front and centre of transforming their neighbourhoods.
How does a 10xGreener project work?
Local partners in pilot postcodes fundraise money through their own crowdfunders (you can see these under the 'Supporters' tab above!) to support their Postcode Gardener. Once they've raised the money, they’ll find the perfect person to work with your community for a set amount of hours a week.
The Postcode Gardener then works with the community to build a vision of what greener streets could look like, and put it into practice. How they go about realising that vision varies from postcode to postcode; our E5 Postcode Gardener has helped residents develop an anti-pollution garden alongside a busy road and smash up concrete in their front gardens to create more space for nature, while our EX39 Postcode Gardener has recently transformed a disused verge in a carpark into an edible haven for wildlife.
What support does Friends of the Earth provide?
Friends of the Earth has a long history of catalysing grassroots action to create change. We've channelled that expertise into a toolkit of resources to get started, fundraise and then run a 10xGreener project. We’ve put time in with community gardening groups, gardeners, funders and local businesses to understand what resources they need in order to make the project a success.
Our communities also have access to support from our central team if they need guidance or advice, and to a network of other 10xGreener groups across the country.
How can I support this project?
Any pledges that come in on this page will go directly to Friends of the Earth Charitable Trust. This money will help us protect the wellbeing of people and planet, including our work to make more postcodes across the country ten times greener.
You can support your local 10xGreener project through the fundraiser link under 'Supporters'. Your pledge is a one-off donation to kickstart the project for its first year in your neighbourhood - keep reading to find out more about how projects are financially sustained in the long term.
When you pledge to your local 10xGreener project through their crowdfunding page, 90% of your contribution goes towards your Postcode Gardener’s first year in the community. While we suggest our partners initially raise enough to cover roughly one day a week for a year, every bit of extra money means even more time for your Postcode Gardener to help nature thrive.
10% of your pledge on local fundraiser pages goes to Friends of the Earth to help the team here grow the project. We’ve been working hard to turn 10xGreener from a rough idea into something that could be replicated across the country. We want to develop more resources, guidance and support for our 10xGreener projects, and help more communities get their own Postcode Gardeners.
How do we keep our projects going after the first year?
This is a new approach to community greening and the goal has always been to make it self-sustaining in the long term. In the last year, we’ve met with dozens of community gardeners, funders, local authorities and passionate volunteers who’ve all reinforced this message – it’s really hard to keep initiatives like this going in the long term.
That’s why we want to try something different – a ‘subscription’ model where anyone from the community can support the project regularly, giving as much as they can in the way that works best for them. We’ve seen time and time again projects like this stumble when they have to fill out big grant applications or ask people for large lump sums every few years – we believe that if as many people as possible can give regular support to the fund, the whole community benefits from the stability this will give to the project.
We’re currently trialling this approach in Hackney, as well as exploring other avenues of funding such as partnerships and collaborations. However, ultimately, what this looks like in your postcode will vary from place to place – and it’s vital to us that our communities take the lead on shaping what this could look like in their neighbourhood.
What happens if the initiative stops in the future?
We think this is unlikely – our projects are community-owned, so as long as there is funding coming in, and the community are keen to keep their Postcode Gardener, we’ll be able to keep our neighbourhoods ten times greener. Visit your local fundraiser page to find more information on the plans for your 10xGreener project. Any pledges made to specific 10xGreener crowdfunders will be handled by the local delivery partner running the project.
This is an experimental pilot project aiming to show what's possible - we're constantly learning from our work and our communities to help us improve the initiative, and that means sometimes things do change. Should the project at Friends of the Earth need to be stopped for some reason in the future, your previous contributions to this page will be used to fund our work to protect the wellbeing of people and planet, including our work to protect and make space for nature and biodiversity across the country.
Don’t have a local project, or want to get one started?
Get in touch with [email protected] to find out how you could start your own.