Set up a community garden
AS urban areas increase, so does the need for community gardens.
Over the next 12 months, organic drinks brand Honest and environmental regeneration charity Groundwork.org.uk will be working together to bring more green spaces and gardens to Britain’s urban sprawls.
Groundwork community gardener Sean Gifford helps local groups set up community gardens in a range of areas from housing estates to disused car parks. He takes these groups through the process, from design to plant selection.
Ben Coles, Groundwork director of communities and environmental services, offers the following advice to get a community garden started:
Build momentum behind the idea
Find out how many people are interested in it – the more momentum from locals who are keen to do it, the more voices you have to be heard. Organise a meeting with neighbours to see how it could be taken forward.
Check space availability
Find a spot you think would be suitable. Speak to your local authority partner or landowners or whoever is responsible for the land. Contact your housing department, landlord or housing association.
Consider funding Sometimes councils will refer you to an organisation that can help, other times the residents will find their own sponsorship.
This might come through local businesses, a charity, or with guidance through organisations such as the Federation of Community Farms and City Gardens (farmgarden.org.uk).
Moving forward “We would look at the needs, from designing and constructing a growing space to providing people like Sean to help the groups get up and running, and to recognise that some of them don’t know a lot about what they can grow and how they would look after it. It’s always a tailored response,” says Ben.
It may not be easy Ken Elkes, spokesman for the Federation of Community Farms and City Gardens, says: “The bottom line is that most groups run on a shoestring and find it difficult to get enough income to sustain and expand their community gardens. There’s a lot less funding around than there used to be... but there are ways of starting up and sustaining a community garden.
“Most don’t need a huge amount of money. Most people start out as a group who come together and do everything on a voluntary basis.
“We can give advice on funding opportunities and have access to information and resources, acting as a conduit between the members and corporate sponsors.”