On 20th September 2014, over 100 of the UK’s community food-growing gardens will be opening their gates to the public. Edible Gardens Open Day is now in its third year as a national event, although has been running for five years in London. Numbers of visitors have risen since 2012, with 4,000 people visiting the gardens last year. The day aims to raise awareness of community gardens and encourage more people to get involved in food growing, as a cheap way to get healthy and meet your neighbours.
The Edible Gardens Open Day is part of The Big Dig network, co-ordinated by Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming. Funding from the Big Lottery’s Awards for All programme is helping the project to engage new places, new gardens and new people this year.
Amongst the gardens taking part are community orchards and allotments, gardens on roof tops, on housing estates, in schools and in parks. Many of the gardens will be putting on activities such as garden tours, talks, and games for children as well as giving visitors the chance to take part in harvesting, cooking and eating the food grown on the sites.
One of the gardens taking part for the first time is Thanet Kidz Klub Community Garden in Ramsgate. For decades, the district of Thanet has struggled with high unemployment, crime and isolation. Situated in the far east of Kent, over a quarter of children (28%) live in impoverished conditions, this number rising to almost half (49%) on the Newington estate, the highest in the district. It is here in Newington that Thanet Kidz Klub (TKK) does its work. With support from local churches TKK operates an after-school club and has just embarked on its most ambitious project to date: a two-site community fruit and vegetable garden. With only one local corner shop selling mostly alcohol and unhealthy convenience food, the Newington estate is one of Kent's most deprived food deserts. The aim of the gardens is to provide a welcoming and safe place for families to meet and also alleviate some of the financial pressures they face by giving the produce away for free.
Matt Smith, Programme Manager at TKK said “Thanet Kidz Klub are so pleased to be partnering with Sustain and the Big Dig for this Edible Gardens Open Day. We hope that by working together, we can draw more people and attention to these gardens, and have an increased positive impact on our community."
Details of the gardens taking part can be found on The Big Dig website at www.bigdig.org.uk.
The Big Dig is is a nationwide project which aims to support community gardens and help them recruit new volunteers. Follow The Big Dig on twitter @thebigdiguk, or visit our website www.bigdig.org.uk
Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity. Sustain represents around 100 national public interest organisations working at international, national, regional and local level. http://www.sustainweb.org/
Awards for All is a Big Lottery Fund which aims to fund projects which address the issues, needs and aspirations of local communities and people. They fund a wide range of community projects aimed at developing skills, improving health, revitalizing the local environment and enabling people to become more active citizens. http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/global-content/programmes/england/awards-for-all-england
Thanet Kidz Klub grows the well-being of children and their families in the east of Kent. We value fun, education, and community. We focus on building relationships that are safe and nurturing by providing spaces to play, learn, and explore the world. We strive to enhance positive development in the lives we touch. http://thanetkidzklub.org.uk/