How Do the Gardens Grow?

We’re getting ready for two days filming next week for BBC Scotland’s Beechgrove Garden that will be broadcast in the next few weeks to tell the story of the Royal Edinburgh Community Gardens. The production company, Tern TV, have been great… putting a lot of effort into understanding what is a fairly complex, multi-layered project so that it can be simply communicated in the programme.

In essence the RoyalEdinburghCommunityGardens is about creating a great place where the community can grow together, in every sense.

In that it is not by any means unique. There are community gardens of many sorts already established and springing up all over the UK – and wider. There is huge variety in why, how and what is happening but there are some clear positive drivers.

More people want to grow more of their own food but don’t have garden space or know-how or can’t get or don’t want an allotment.

More people are looking to develop less sedentary and more of an outdoor lifestyle, where exercise is more productive than in a gym.

More people are looking to find ways of engaging with other people in a real rather than a virtual way, to be part of a community.

It is very inspiring to be part of turning what was a frozen wasteland in January into a large, cultivated and garden that is the product of the labour of hundreds of pairs of hands: small, big, soft, gnarled, skilled and confident, slow and tentative – the diversity of involvement has been immense.

Once the filming is in the can we’ll be taking stock of the project so far and starting a process of thinking through where it goes in the future. Central to this, of course, will be consultation with all the various stakeholders.

One of the exciting features of a community project of this sort is the generation of some many ideas, so much passion and energy. The challenge is to facilitate it into becoming a reality that is also well managed, financially sustainable and something that goes from strength to strength driven by vision and values.

So how should the Gardens grow? You tell me.

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