Grow your own: why your garden might be the key to a better planet

Campaigners in Cardiff are trying to encourage people to grow more of their own food in a bid to boost community spirit and save the planet.

In the festive time from 17 April to 5 June, people can have free local produce such as vegetables, fruits, herbs, learn how to grow their own food as well as have outdoor play. (Image: Edible Cardiff)

Cardiff’s ‘growers’ celebrate a festival to bring Cardiff residents to be involved in community food growing and try a sustainable lifestyle.

Cardiff Spring festival is run by the Edible Cardiff, a grassroots network of local people, groups and organizations who are passionately working for the future wellbeing of our planet and all people.

“We wanted to raise awareness of community food growing in the city,” said Lisa Williams from Social Farms and Gardens which is in a partnership of the Edible Cardiff.

“Food is becoming more expensive and food poverty is rising,” said Lisa, and she also think growing at home could become a way to alleviate a part of the problem, every small action will make a difference.

“We engage with the residents of Cardiff to showcase how important food growing is and how much fun it can be.”

Lisa believes that growing at home is not only beneficial to both mental and physical health. So, there are also some performances about nature in the festival.

Action Movement Peace isone of the one of the organizations involved in the festival. Alys Morgan Pearce, director of it, said: “Having a strong local food community means strong social connections helping with loneliness and mental health that is all too often seen nowadays.”

Alys believes art has a unique power to enable her to connect her audience with nature. (Image: Action Movement Peace)

Community gardens, Lisa thinks, are not just a way that people learn about gardening and growing, but also to meet others, reduce social isolation and improve wellbeing overall.

Pearce is devoted to raising public awareness about climate emergencies by performing with natural food. “The arts enable people to connect in new ways to certain topics,” she said.

“I hope to inspire each audience member who joins us on this journey to find what we can do today to create a different future.”

She thinks permaculture is simple: looking after the Earth, ourselves, and people can resources fairly.

“Permaculture is beneficial to any community,” said Pearce. “We must work as local as our own homes in order to function well as an entire ecosystem which is Earth.”

The word permaculture is originally from ‘permanent agriculture,’ then ‘permanent culture’ and is an approach to land management and philosophy that adopts arrangements observed in flourishing natural ecosystems. (Image: Action Movement Peace)

Growing at home is not just about saving money in times when food is becoming more expensive but also rebuilding people’s connection with nature which could improve physical and mental health.

Lisa said: “We wanted to raise awareness of community food growing in the city and engage with the residents of Cardiff to showcase how important food growing is and how much fun it can be.”

Lisa and her groups ran their Growing Hope project last year, where they gave out 1000 home growing kits through the Cardiff Council food parcels and community groups. (Image: Edible Cardiff)

During the lockdown, people are becoming more interested in growing. The Edible Cardiff started a city-wide project that helped thousands of Cardiff families grow their own food at home.

“We recognized that a network would mean ideas, knowledge and inspiration would be shared and each group would be stronger and more successful by connecting with others with similar aims and ambitions,” said Lisa.

Growing your own veg could be the key to better mental health and a stronger sense of local community, according to a conservation campaigner.

Edible Cardiff believes building a well-connected community can encourage people to try a low-carbon lifestyle because growing at home enables people to have more emotional interaction with nature.

Lisa feels very inspiring to see how people enjoy gardening and growing and how much they get out of engaging with community growing projects and various events and activities. (Image: Edible Cardiff)

They witness an increasing number of people demanding for growing kits and are trying their best to let participants have an opportunity to get outside and reconnect with nature.

“We are arranging for veg plug plants and home growing kits to be given away through some community groups so people have an opportunity to try something they may not have tried before,” said Lisa.