In Seaford we have a beautiful community garden almost hidden within the Crouch Gardens. The very friendly crew there welcome anyone to join them on a Wednesday or a Saturday morning to look after the garden, meet new friends and learn new skills.
When you visit Brighton, you will notice food growing in the most surprising spaces… on street corners, on rooftops, in hanging baskets – everywhere! It’s not only in Brighton. I was excited to find fruit trees and bushes growing around the Depot in Lewes. I learned they were planted to represent an orchard that once stood in its place.
A community Garden on a corner of Stanford Ave, Brighton.
Brighton has over 70 community gardens! That’s roughly one garden per 4,000 residents. Look into this further and you’ll find food growing spaces all over the country, in fact, all over the world! People are realising the benefits of growing food in the community. It’s good for their health, their pocket and for the planet. Walking past an old flower bed now filled with growing vegetables, will help children and adults to relate more to their food. Doctors are also social prescribing gardening for improving mental health and physical well-being.
Another benefit of community growing is more community eating. As we understand and appreciate where our food comes from, we want to celebrate this together by cooking and sharing our food.
Would you like to get involved? With more people we could be growing all over town!
If you’d like to get involved in street tree planting, visit Trees for Seaford
To get involved in wildlife verges, visit On The Verge – A project to connect people and green spaces to create wildlife pathways throughout Seaford.
Incredible Edible has motivated and helped community food growing groups around the world. Explore their website for more information. If you are interested in getting involved in community food growing, this Ted talk from one of the founders is inspiring!
Many community gardens want to share their story and encourage others to join in. There are so many useful websites if you want to explore this further with advice about what you’ll need to start, who to contact locally for a space and how to grow your group. You can join networks with other gardens to get ideas and build success.
Here are a few:
In 2009, Harvest, in Brighton & Hove set up with help from Big Lottery Local Food funding. The overarching aim of the project was to increase the amount of food grown by communities in the city by increasing both the land available and the number of people involved. They have produced an in depth report about the aspects of starting up and running food projects in the city. If you are interested in getting involved with a food growing group, I recommend reading the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership, Harvest Evaluation Report.
Brighton council provides a planning advisory note to encourage developers to include space for food growing in new developments. It would be fantastic to see this everywhere.
An inspirational film – The Need to Grow
“We can improve our health by eating fresh organically grown local food that doesn’t include any chemicals, pesticides or nasties, while addressing the combined health, climate and biodiversity emergencies in the process.”
The next step is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). This is a scheme where the local community support a local farm through investment or labour and in return receives food or can learn new skills.
The CSA Networks aims to have a CSA in every neighbourhood. Find out more from their website.