Community Gardens are 'community-managed projects working with people, animals and plants. They range from tiny wildlife gardens to fruit and vegetable plots on housing estates, from community polytunnels to large city farms'.
They exist mainly in urban areas and are created in response to a lack of access to green space, combined with a desire to encourage strong community relationships and an awareness of gardening and farming.
City farms and community gardens are usually set up by local volunteers. Some larger community farms and gardens go on to employ paid workers, while smaller groups rely on dedicated volunteers. See the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens for much more info.
Support by example ...
Growing Manchester is a programme that has supported a number of community food related projects to become more sustainable since spring 2010. Abundance Manchester was one of the first groups to receive support from Growing Manchester, attending the first Strong Roots workshop in the summer of 2010. It's made a real difference to their work.
“The Strong Roots worskhop taught us a lot about best practice in running a community food project” says Debs from the group. “We didn't know much about the administrative side – health & safety, accounts, constitutions and things like that, and the workshop was a really good introduction to that, as well as signposting us towards more help if we needed it. It was a lot to take in, but was extremely useful and gave us the confidence to expand our work”.
Abundance was also one of the first groups to receive financial support from Growing Manchester, and as a result a neglected community orchard in South Manchester is being given some much needed TLC and has become a hotspot for training in orchard management techniques. Since receiving a small amount of funding in late 2010, the group has been out in all weathers installing rabbit guards to protect the trees, pruning apple and pears, overhauling the currant beds and working on a long-term management plan for the orchard. “The relatively small pots of funding combined with a low level of bureacracy make this kind of funding ideal for a small voluntary group” says Debs.