Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Get growing this Spring with a new garden community

A new national community growing project, supported by Shrinking the Footprint, the Church of England’s national environmental campaign, and endorsed by a BBC Gardening expert, aims to bring people together locally to help each other grow fruit and vegetables in their own gardens.

Grow Zones has been created to address the challenges facing a new grower with local teams sharing skills, tools and produce to eliminate food miles. A resource kit has been developed to help a facilitator and team get organised and growing without necessarily having any expert knowledge.

BBC Gardening presenter Alys Fowler said: “At last, an easy to use guide on how to get a community group up and running. This is a brilliant resource for anyone who wants to gather some like-minded people together to get gardening. Now all you have to do is get out there and garden!”

David Shreeve, the Church of England’s national environment adviser, said: “Churches and faith groups are ideally placed to establish Grow Zones. Many younger families have the enthusiasm whilst older people often have the gardens which they would welcome some help with and so here's an excellent way to bring congregations together. Grow Zones not only provide practical opportunities, but can produce a very real sense of community with all ages sharing in a 'real-life good life'.”

Grow Zones is a national project supported by the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food scheme. It was started by EarthAbbey (www.earthabbey.com) and piloted in Bristol through the Revd Chris Sunderland, a priest in Bristol Diocese.

Chris Sunderland said: “The Grow Zones Kit has been developed to help teams get organised and growing without necessarily having any expert knowledge. At the beginning the project was a way to get people growing their own food but it has proved to be an amazing friendship and community forming project too. It seems easier for people to make friends over shared work.”

Eleanor Course

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