Raising funds to purchase land and for the development of a community garden.
The idea for this project is to create a community garden or food forest on a small plot of land where local community members can come and pick fruit, vegetables and herbs, as well as volunteer to help grow the produce.
The space will also be used for educational workshops in horticulture and organic gardening, providing space for local schools, Forest Schools, and youth groups, for children, students, adults and families to learn about food, where it comes from, to socialise with their neighbours, and to experience nature in a wholesome environment.
(A community garden in New Zealand)
Why is it important?
Providing organic, local home-grown food is a big and popular topic of conversation these days. Something which still needs our attention. Although this is an unusual and difficult time for all of us, to say the least, the impact of Covid-19 has more than ever given us the opportunity to think about what is really important, what real changes need to be made for our environment and well-being, and to actually take steps to improve things for the future.
We can move towards positively changing the food industry and take responsibility for how and where we access our food, but we need to actually take steps and put things into action.
The idea for community gardens isn't new, but protecting more spaces in the UK in order to provide organically grown produce, available to everyone, is still needed across the country.
Of course, the regulations put in place for our safety during the pandemic may reduce our ability to enjoy places like community gardens right now, however, this is a perfect time to create such spaces and establish them, so that they are functioning and abundant when this time of uncertainty has passed.
If we use this time wisely, if we prepare and cultivate what we need for the future we will be better equipped to thrive post-pandemic, with empowered individuals and better supported communities.
Food & Education
Combining the space with learning opportunities is important for adding value to local community, as well as providing more social space and outdoor skill-based activities.
We will always have the responsibility to educate our children, and the problems we face with environmental changes are undeniable. People deserve the knowledge, understanding and skills to be able to solve these and any future problems, especially when it comes to food.
We have an opportunity to teach others, at the basic level, the value and satisfaction in protecting and appreciating nature, and where food comes from. To do this we need to provide people, children and adults alike, with more space, time and resources to have hands on experiences in nature, and to see and enjoy the outcome of working with the land to produce food.
This project will provide such a space where this is possible, and the opportunities to be creative with it are endless. I hope the project will progress and evolve to meet the needs of the community, and to provide more for the visitors who enjoy it.
Not only will this project be for growing organic food, but it will be protecting and creating a space for wildlife such as bees, butterflies, birds and other insects to flourish. I've included the wild flower meadow in the designs in order to encourage and give back to these creatures.
As well as our need for healthy food, the conservation and protection of wildlife in the UK is and should be a top priority. With this project we are also given the opportunity to create such a space on which these animals can depend in order to flourish again, without being majorly disturbed and in a natural and free environment.
This will also be a bonus for any school or group visits as they will be able to experience a wide variety of species active in nature. They will watch how they interact with the food that's growing and how they affect it. They'll see how more than humans depend on plants, and develop skills in relationships to nature.
Sustainability & Workability
To maintain the garden throughout the year a core group of volunteers will be employed to make regular visits to the property in order to keep the land and plants healthy and well looked after year round, to organise the diary of workshops or other group visits, and to be the main stewards of the project.
These volunteers can be students or adults, wanting to gain experience in organic gardening, or to build on previous knowledge and skills in horticulture and permaculture principles.
What your support will buy
The money raised for this project will allow purchase of the land, and cover any legal and insurance fees. The goal will be to gather donations of and for seeds, plants, materials and tools, however some purchases at low cost may be required so keeping a kitty for the project as it develops will be set up, and hopefully added to by visitor donations over time.
The intention is to cultivate the space into a wildflower meadow, small orchard, and food forest/garden. In order to achieve this the project is looking at a range of 2-4 acre plots. Completion of purchase will ideally be finalised by spring 2021 in order to start sowing and planting. We have been researching available plots in Somerset and Wiltshire, as well as other areas in the UK, and more information will be added here on the project page about the chosen property soon.
Hopefully this initial project will be the springboard to expanding, making this a nationwide venture, purchasing more plots of land around the UK. Creating a network of free food gardens, all with the same ethos and principles; organic food, education, and community bonding.
I have worked in horticulture, permaculture, and organic & biodynamic farming for over 8 years, and have experienced unique work alongside individuals, farms, small holdings, communities, NGO's, and large-scale organisations around the world. All widely spread under the umbrella of sustainability, organic farming, education and food production.
After completing my first Permaculture Design Course several years ago I became inspired to live and work based on sustainable principles and have gone on to train in Organic and Biodynamic Farming, Herbalism, and Forest School Leadership.
And now after years of working and volunteering around the world on similar projects, and witnessing countless people benefitting from projects such as this, I trust in what can be achieved through a community garden. Educating myself about sustainable farming is one of the most empowering things I've ever done, and providing space for others to do the same is just as empowering.
(Permaculture Design Course, Portugal, 2016)
Future of Food
Investing in projects like this now will give us a head start when we need it most - being able to effectively bounce back after this time of struggle and uncertainty.
Strengthening community, conserving our green spaces, and bringing food back to life is one of the fundamental objectives of our future.
If you feel like a community garden would benefit your family and friends, having a place within a few miles where you can pick food naturally and for free for years to come, wouldn’t you want to invest now to help make that happen?
Your support is hugely appreciated. However, if you’re unable to donate now, please pass this page onto someone you know or an organisation who might be interested and able to help. Sharing is more valuable than you know - Thank you!