Guerilla gardening – where to start

Think back to the food shortages at the start of the COVID-19 crisis that were a result of some people feeling they needed to stockpile food in case they had to self isolate. It only took a slight uptick in demand to knock what can often be lengthy food supply chains out of synch. This revealed the fragility of the food production and supply system many people take for granted.

It would appear that since the onset of the crisis, there’s been a growth in interest from people wanting to grow more of their vegetables and fruit: Coronavirus lockdown UK: How to grow your own food in small spaces instead of stockpiling. Obviously, if you have access to your own back garden, you’re already at an advantage. However, not everyone has access to a garden. In this situation, the best strategy is to team up with like minded neighbours and search out a plot you can guerilla garden. Where do you start with this?

This is the response we made to a recent enquiry about where to start:

To be honest, there’s no one size fits all template for a community guerilla garden. Anything that is achieved depends on a) the people involved in the project b) the aim of the project c) the physical condition of the site (soil, possible pollutants, what flora and fauna are already there) and c) the attitude of your local authority.

It is definitely worth drawing up a list of agreed aims and objectives for the community garden. It doesn’t have to go into great detail – a list of bullet points should suffice. The key thing is ensuring that there’s broad agreement about what you want from the community garden. Seeds for Change have a very useful selection of guides on consensus decision making that are worth a read – https://www.seedsforchange.org.uk/resources

A wildlife check is pretty essential to ensure habitat preservation. Once you’ve established what you want to keep as wild, you can start to plan around that in terms of planting.

If you’re growing vegetables/fruit to eat, then definitely check the soil quality first. The three community gardens we know of in our area all have raised beds with imported soil/compost in because the underlying soil conditions are pretty dire in these locations.

This is a very handy resource:

DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY OF ‘TOP OF THE CROPS – HOW TO MAKE YOUR EDIBLE GARDEN GROW’ FREE OF CHARGE HERE!

These projects may be worth checking out for further tips/advice:

Crops NOT Shops – Dig For VICTORY!!
Spiralseed
Billericay Community Garden
Incredible Edible Leigh On Sea

The above is best seen as a stub for something we’d like to develop, expand and publish as an online resource and eventually, as a printed pamphlet. The more feedback we can get from people with experience of guerilla/community gardening, the more comprehensive this resource can be.

This is where we can be contacted: seradicalmedia@protonmail.com

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