Grow Your own! Food champs help source eco-friendly meals

Imagine if every time you cooked, each product didn’t come with an ingredients list of 37 items which you couldn’t pronounce.

That’s exactly what the Food Communities social enterprise is motivating people to do by encouraging neighbourhoods to pool their skills so that resources are available for people to enjoy the freshest, tastiest, healthiest, and most eco-friendly local food possible. 

Speaking to Uspire, founder Adam Skelton – who learned about growing food while volunteering at Edinburgh’s Botanic Garden – said: “The vast majority of people in the UK rarely eat locally grown food and most home gardens are not used for growing food. 

“As a society, we urgently need to tackle food poverty and reduce food miles and plastic packaging, we can do this if we prioritise local food and better manage our resources. 

“We have the skills, materials, and the space to do it. But more of us need to get stuck in if eating truly local food is going to become the norm again. We can provide the support and infrastructure to facilitate this.”

The organisation – run by volunteers – provides free support to help groups of any size grow, preserve, store, and cook more of their own food and connect with like-minded neighbours. 

Members share food, seeds, plants, tools, materials, knowledge and skills, and are encouraged to work as a team to maximise the potential of local gardens, allotments and wasteland, to help more people start growing and to get more fresh food to those in need. 

Adam continued: “There is a lot of pressure on farmers to feed lots of people, whilst also meeting environmental responsibilities to manage soil degradation, biodiversity loss, water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. 

“If our cities, towns and villages were growing more fruit and veg, we would take much of the strain off our farmers and the environment.”

“Food Communities are completely free. You have nothing to lose and lots to gain.” 

The first Food Community group started in Adam’s home town of Peebles, in the Scottish Borders, in 2017. Since then, there have been a further three community gardens, 500 fruit and nut trees planted, and ongoing collaborations with food banks, schools, and councils.
To get involved, visit Food Communities.