Cardiff Growing Together during lockdown

For more growing tips and resources click here for our ‘Grow Your Own Food’ page.

Despite the challenges living under lockdown has brought, Food Cardiff have been inspired to see how so many of us are finding positives, particularly in using the time to become more self-sufficient with homegrown food.

The demand for seeds and people using online search engines to find growing tips is soaring, so it’s more important than ever to make sure those who may be facing financial hardship and have less access to these resources, are supported to access them. Therefore, working in collaboration with food emergency response networks, Food Cardiff and Edible Cardiff members, are encouraging and supporting residents to grow their own vegetables.

Almost 14,000 plants, seeds and growing kits are being distributed during lockdown as part of this city-wide campaign. A team of 70 volunteers across 16 projects will reach over 3,000 households with seeds or plants, with more than 100 people joining online growing classes.

The coronavirus outbreak has exacerbated food insecurity and disrupted normal food and growing supply chains. In response, projects which help more people to grow their own food and increase the amount of food grown locally are collaborating to reach a greater number of people in need.

Edible Cardiff is a local network connecting small scale growers, allotment holders and community gardens. Their aims are increasing the amount of food grown in the city and getting more people involved in growing their own food. Some of Edible Cardiff members were quick to respond to the crisis and despite the lockdown, members got together virtually to discuss how to respond to the food emergency, whilst being able to help reduce feelings of isolation across the city.

If you are involved in a growing project in your home, community or through an organisation please share using #GoodFoodCardiff or get in touch with the Edible Cardiff network to see how we can support.

Many of these initiatives got funding from Food for Life Get Togethers (FFLGT), who repurposed their funding to initiatives that could be carried out in lockdown and include:

Social Farms & Gardens 

Banner kindly designed by Green Squirrel

#GrowingHope is a project for households in the Cardiff area. Social Farms and Gardens Wales are working with Cardiff Council’s food parcel distribution team and other community groups to ensure their growing kits reach those who are not leaving the house and may be feeling lonely or isolated. With funding from FFLGT, and Community Foundation Wales, donations of packaging from Vegware Community Fund and seeds from Dobbies, they will be distributing growing kits with everything people need to grow salad and herbs on windowsills. By supporting residents to grow a small amount of fresh and nutritious food, they hope to stimulate interest and enthusiasm in continuing to grow in back gardens, on allotments or on a local community growing project.

Facebook https://en-gb.facebook.com/farmgarden.UK/

Twitter @FCFCGWales

Website https://www.farmgarden.org.uk/about-us/cultivating-communities

Global Gardens

A community garden based in an allotment site, had to restrict the number of people allowed into the site but started to feature one crop and one herb every fortnight and invite people to share recipes online. The Stay Home, Eat Veg project will see the best contributors will receive packs including a portion of the crop, recipes and seeds. This enables the site to continue to link to the community in lockdown. With the help of FFLGT funding they are able to provide growing kits, online recipes and growing tips to not only increase knowledge of growing and healthy recipes but to enable a more connected community.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/globalgardensproject/

Twitter @globalgardenscf

Website https://www.globalgardensproject.co.uk/

Green Squirrel and Bute Park Nurseries

Green Squirrel, a social enterprise creating opportunities for greener living for households in Cardiff, are working with Cardiff Council’s Bute Park plant nursery to grow veg and herb seedlings to distribute for free to local residents and groups. Their  ‘Stay home, grow your own’ project supported by FFLGT will allow them to distribute these plants across Cardiff in May, June and July as well as provide digital growing resources and host virtual grow-alongs to help connect the growing community in and share skills. They aim to enable people to learn new skills, increase physical activity and hopefully maintain longer-term engagement in growing projects.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/735210727017424/

https://www.facebook.com/Bute.Park.Cardiff/ 

Twitter @BeMoreSquirrel

Websites https://www.greencityevents.co.uk/stay-home-grow-your-own

www.bute-park.com

Event page: https://green-city-events.eventcube.io/events/25429/stay-home-grow-your-own

Cardiff Salad Garden and South Riverside Community Development Centre

Cardiff Salad Garden is a social enterprise growing and selling salad, particularly aimed at supporting people experiencing disadvantage in Cardiff. They are working with South Riverside Community Development Centre to grow vegetables to include in parcels from the Wyndham St Pantry going out to families. This will be supported by online growing sessions, tips, and virtual Q&A sessions. As well as increasing knowledge of growing, the project aims to help reduce loneliness, social isolation and improved mental health through connecting with local communities and individuals.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/cardiffsalad/

https://www.facebook.com/srcdc/

Twitter  @CardiffSalad @Grow4Riverside

Websites http://cardiffsaladgarden.co.uk/

srcdc.org.uk

Grow Cardiff

Working with 14 primary hub schools across Cardiff to support children to grow their own sunflowers and veggies through the project Sow Some Sunshine, funded through the Moondance Foundation. They will also be sending seeds out to children unable to attend the hub schools with an interactive, on-line digital platform to support the project for 12 weeks.

Grow Well is a social prescribing to therapeutic community gardens project in south west Cardiff.  As their community gardens have had to temporarily close to patients, Grow Well has been encouraging people with health conditions to have a go at growing at home.  We initially sent out 250 seed packs across the city and have gone on to deliver grow bags and tomato, courgette and cucumber plants to patients who are shielding or struggling with their mental health in Ely, Caerau, Canton and in Riverside, in partnership with SRCDC.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/growcardiff/

Twitter @growcardiff

Website www.growcardiff.org

EggSeeds

EggSeeds is a private venture run by Sam Holt. Sam has been growing over 500 plants of various vegatables and flowers and 400 packets of carrots and beetroot seeds to support people in East Cardiff to grow their own food. He is working with the 5 GP surgeries in the cluster to distribute them. Sam has also helped distribute 200 windowsill packs from Growing Hope, 500 additional plants that were spare from Bute Park Nursery and Green Squirrel, and 500 mixed salad plants from Cardiff Salad Garden. EggSeeds continues to work in partnership with Hapi, a wellbeing project encompassing Cardiff, the Vale and RCT with regular weekly growing videos with over 15 videos to date and over 2000 views to encourage and support people to grow at home and look after nature.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EggSeeds/ 

Twitter @eggseeds

Website http://eggseeds.com/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC47ZX_79dT5FyUmimZCr1vw 

The Food Cardiff partnership continues to support the coordination of these fantastic projects, to avoid duplication and ensure widespread access across Cardiff and is now considering what can be taken forward to ensure the interest in growing your own food is sustained in the long term.

For more information on Food for Life Get Togethers please visit: https://www.foodforlife.org.uk/get-togethers or contact louise.shute@wales.nhs.uk

If you are involved in a growing project in your home, community or through an organisation please share using #GoodFoodCardiff or get in touch with the Edible Cardiff network to see how we can support.

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