As mounting food costs and bills soar growing your own food is going to become a necessity rather than a hobby. It’s like a quiet act of revolution and you’re saving the planet too. Have you noticed supermarkets don’t seem to have all the stock you need at the moment…, well with the Climate Crisis we are facing this will only get worse. But there are solutions and they come by connecting with the community and finding a growing space for you and your family, whether that’s in your own back garden or if you don’t have one in a local green space or community garden.
Unfortunately, freedom given to developers for house building has meant that we have up to 40% less provision for green spaces and this has had a huge societal effect. Research shows the role public green spaces play in better educational outcomes, physical health and mental and social wellbeing, resilience and recovery.
Nestled in Yorkshires Calderdale valley lies the village of Todmorden, the starting place of the group Incredible Edibles, which took over its towns public green spaces and has turned them into edible spaces run and maintained by the community. It is a fine example of how produce can be grown within a town setting, in small spaces, using land already paid for by taxpayers.
Far across the water in Los Angeles a man called Ron Finley decided to grow on his sidewalk , in an area known as a food desert. Many areas of America are food deserts in the sense of having to travel long distances to get fresh food and vegetables. This was back in 2010 and his attitude that gardening is gangsta has led to huge projects being set up dealing with many of the socio economic and anti-social behaviour problems within his neighbourhood. I highly recommend his ted talk, incredibly inspirational story of one man and his mission to get fresh food into some of the poorest communities.
Here in Newhaven we are lucky to have green spaces around us and community growing projects, new and old looking for volunteers and community to assist them in creating food growing projects. Having spent the last year volunteering at some of these groups I know how good it is for my wellbeing. Being with supportive people, teaching me skills and enjoying a share of the organic produce I bring home.
Growing together Newhaven has a beautiful space on the clifftops where they offer various sessions with a fantastic “ Whatever the weather Forest School”. Kids enjoy and incredible space and get to do activities many of us can’t do at home. Denton has a new community garden opening designed by the children for the children. In its infancy the plans look amazing for all the community to enjoy. In Peacehaven a beautiful community garden next to the Oval and the stunning Orchard situated in the Big Park. Both beautiful projects and offering a haven for wildlife in the ever-decreasing green spaces within Peacehaven. Beautiful sites that offer a wealth of volunteering opportunities. Slightly further afield is the Rodmell Food Forest, an abundant space with stunning views where everything is edible. A volunteer day on a Wednesday with lunch provided and the opportunity to learn from Marc and take some organic produce home.
All of the projects can be found on Facebook, so why not come along and join in. Volunteering can include many tasks and suit all abilities from planting to surveying, to helping with social media, you can find the project to suit you within the time constraints you have. At Greenhavens we are hoping to secure funding to set up growing communities within Newhaven so please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested. As a network we are here to serve the community so if you have any growing idea’s please let us know.
So set the seed of growing in your mind and in your kid’s futures, grow solutions for them they can carry on into adulthood. The joys of growing your own are endless, when planting seeds you are giving hope to tomorrow.
By Miriam Thundercliffe. Greenhavens coordinator.