Bournemouth community groups have united to deliver ready to grow gardens to 30 families on the Beaufort Road housing estate in Southbourne as part of their successful ‘Grow Your Own Rainbow’ campaign. The venture was launched to enable residents to enjoy the benefits of gardening and growing their own food without the upfront cost of materials.
‘Grow Your Own Rainbow’ is the passion project of Your Planet Doctors, a Bournemouth-based community interest company dedicated to protecting the planet, and Grounded Community, a charity who educate people on growing food from their ‘Secret Garden’ in Boscombe. Their collaboration grew from an awareness that many people in the local community don’t have access to the necessary materials to try growing their own food, or know how to make the most of their outdoor space. So, the idea to deliver flatpack gardening starter kits was born.
Anne Hayden, founder of Your Planet Doctors, commented: “The ‘Grow Your Own Rainbow’ project is about creating small, neighbourhood, organic food growing hubs to improve mental health and, in so doing, helping to grow sustainable, self-sufficient and resilient communities. Our intention is to design a scalable template which can be used throughout the UK.”
The project launch saw starter kits containing pallet planters, compost, watering cans, trowels and a selection of seeds and seedlings all delivered to the doors of families on the Beaufort Road housing estate. As well as providing residents with the materials to grow their own tomatoes, squash, rosemary, and much more, the team also provided education on how residents can make the most of their growing kits.
Michael French, Grounded Community’s founder and projects co-ordinator, commented: “Grounded Community Charity was set up to enable people to gain skills in food growing, which it delivers from the Secret Garden. This collaborative project with Your Planet Doctors and Abri Housing Association, who are responsible for many of the houses on the estate and funded the enterprise, has facilitated an exciting development to help people start their growing journey at home.
There are hopes that the success of this pilot will encourage similar projects in other communities, as French continues: “The 30 households now growing their own food are just the beginning of a venture to encourage people to get stuck into the task of making our area and nation healthier and more sustainable all through growing your own.”
Shabana Farooq, community development officer at Abri, commented: “Abri is delighted to work in partnership with Your Planet Doctors and Grounded Community on the ‘Grow Your Own Rainbow’ kits for Abri families. The team have been amazing at engaging with residents and have put in a lot of time to really understand their needs before providing the starter kits, so everyone taking part can have a great experience of growing and embrace the benefits.
“The project will bring lots of health and wellbeing benefits to our residents along with building community cohesion on the Beaufort Park estate. Abri are invested in supporting the wellbeing of their residents and communities.”
After the success of the ‘Grow Your Own Rainbow’ campaign, the team behind the project are on the look out for more communities interested in discovering the benefits of growing their own food. They aren’t just limiting the search to residential areas either, but are looking to include schools, GPs and community centres in their expansion. If you’d like to be involved, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.