Food Communities social enterprise is motivating and facilitating a mass collaborative movement with communities pooling skills and resources so that more people can enjoy the freshest, tastiest, healthiest, most eco-friendly, non-packaged, truly local food and save money.
It’s set to benefit the planet too by reducing food miles, plastic packaging, soil degradation, biodiversity loss, water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions…
Avid gardener and founder of Food Communities, Adam Skelton learned about food growing while volunteering at Edinburgh’s Botanic Garden. “The vast majority of people in the UK rarely eat locally grown food and the vast majority of home gardens are not used for growing food”, comments Adam. “As a society we urgently need to tackle food poverty and reduce food miles and plastic packaging and we can do this if we prioritise local food and better manage our time and resources. We have the skills, materials and the space to do it. But more of us need to get stuck in if eating truly local food is going to become the norm again. Food Communities can provide the support and infrastructure to facilitate this”.
Adam sees increased amateur food growing as essential to a rapidly rising population. “There is a lot of pressure on farmers to feed lots of people, whilst also meeting environmental responsibilities to manage soil degradation, biodiversity loss, water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. If our cities, towns and villages were growing more fruit and veg we would take much of the strain off our farmers and the environment”.
Food Communities provides free support to help neighbourhood groups of any size grow, preserve, store and cook more of their own food and to connect with more like-minded neighbours via the website www.foodcommunities.org and a network of Facebook groups and community gardens. Members share food, seeds, plants, tools, materials, knowledge and skills and are encouraged to work as a team to maximise the potential of local gardens, allotments and wasteland, to help more people start growing, and to get more fresh food to local people in need. Food Communities has not received any funding and is completely run by volunteers.
The first Food Community group started in Adam’s home town of Peebles, in the Scottish Borders, in 2017. Since then Peebles Food Community has created three community gardens on shared members’ land, planted around five hundred fruit and nut trees, grown many new edible trees and bushes from seeds and cuttings, organised produce and seed swap events, hosted workshops and talks, created food drop-off points around the town, supplied produce to local greengrocers, and been regularly swapping and sharing. Crucially, Food Community groups always seek to help promote other community growing groups and other community gardens and Peebles Food Community has been collaborating consistently with other local food groups, the food bank, schools and the council.
“Through working in community gardens and with other community groups my eyes have been opened to the countless positive things going on in our communities every day and the abundance of proficient amateur food growers. What is missing is the mainstream collaboration that Food Communities is aiming to ignite and facilitate”. Adam recognises that not everyone has the time or the knowledge to grow their own food but believes that with a compassionate and coordinated system based around neighbours working together we can all be enjoying local food. “When you know what you are doing it is not difficult or expensive to grow your own food. But it does require organisation and time. We encourage Food Community members to help neighbours who are new to food growing and to seek out new spaces in their community that can be shared to grow”.
“Food Communities are completely free. You have nothing to lose and lots to gain,” comments Adam. Everyone is urged to join the main Food Communities Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/foodcommunities, to visit www.foodcommunities.org to find their local Food Community group and to email firstname.lastname@example.org for any further details. “If you would like a Food Community group in your local area, please get in touch and we will look to setting one up for you”. Every local Food Community group needs at least one person to coordinate and help promote the group. If you fancy helping administer your local group, you should get in touch by email or Facebook message. “Every local Food Community receives the support of the main group. As a local coordinator, you can be as involved as you wish. There is no pressure to do any more than you have time for, but we welcome all initiative and encourage anyone with the passion to help steer Food Communities”.
This article was provided by Food Communities.
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