February 8, 2012
Whose land is it anyway
Why do some allotment sites suffer from so much vandalism despite ever more stringent security systems? Here’s an idea – take down the security fences and invite those ‘vandals’ to pick and grow some of the produce themselves. For many years such fanciful notions have been working very well at Urban Roots in Toryglen in Glasgow. And shifting the relationship between local people and the greenspace around them is the aim of a new project – Edible Estates –which is starting work in some of Edinburgh’s council estates
For more information on Edible Estates click here
Edible Estates is an initiative of Re:Solution to work with communities to regenerate the greenspace in and around housing estates to create opportunities for food growing. These greenspaces provide a huge opportunity to encourage and support local residents to become involved in their local community, learn new skills, and improve their health & well-being, by growing fruit and vegetables.
The key components of an Edible Estates project are:-
• Re-thinking Greenspace within a social housing estate as an opportunity to create diverse and edible landscapes which promote Personal and Community Well-being.
• Setting up of a Community Growing & Teaching Hub in the heart of the neighbourhood to provide a place for households to access Grow Your Own Courses and have their own raised bed.
• Encouraging & supporting households to establish growing spaces throughout the neighbourhood in their own tenement gardens.
• Creating wildlife habitat and ‘Edible Landscapes‘ by establishing wildflower meadows and forest gardens.
• Working with the community and local area partners to establish an Edible Estates Association for the neighbourhood to network and support households interested in growing and to provide a forum for the ongoing roll out of the project.
These ideas have been developed at our two most recent projects Sunshine On Leith Gardens and Lochend Secret Garden.
Our aspiration is to establish projects which are delivered and managed by the communities they serve, that provide a demonstration of what is possible and equip the participants with the skills and knowledge to take their project on.
Our aspiration is to establish projects which, are managed by the communities they serve, that provide a demonstration of what is possible, and encourage and support households throughout the neighbourhood to grow their own, either in their own backgreen/garden or at community sites in the neighbourhood.
More over, our goal is for each project to be self-sustaining through ‘community self-help’ – neighbours supporting each other, and managing the project for themselves. We use community participative design workshops to build the capacity of a group to design their own project. This knowledge and experience is essential to understand the issues involved in the management of a community growing project. To this we add training and support in how to manage a small organisation – Edible Estate Association for their project.
Edible Estate Association’s are simple unincorporated associations. Re:Solution can provide template constitutions and training in how to run an association. Being a constituted body allows the group to open a bank account and raise small funds to grow their project. In some cases, an existing body such as Tenants & Residents Association can fulfil this role.
The role and remit of the association would be discussed and developed by the participants at the start of the project. The target neighbourhood will be defined and objectives set e.g. establish a community growing site for the neighbourhood. The intention would be that in the second year of the set up project, the management of the project would be gradually transfered from the project steering group to the association.