the activity of growing plants without permission on land that belongs to someone else or public land, with the aim of producing vegetables and fruit for people to use and enjoy
We live in uncertain times where there’s more potential for disruption to the food supply and a question mark over the quality of the limited choice of food we’re left with. Rather than give into despair or naïvely hold out the hope that things will turn out okay in the end, why not join up with your neighbours to start your own community vegetable and fruit garden? You end up having some degree of control over your food supply and it will be as fresh as it’s possible to get!
If you have a back garden, by all means turn it over to growing your own vegetables and fruit. However, collectively working with your neighbours on a community garden helps to build the neighbourhood solidarity and resilience we need in these challenging and volatile times.
Starting a project to make a change in your neighbourhood can seem to be a daunting prospect. Yes, there are grassroots community projects that are complex and there are probably good reasons for that – changing the world is not an easy business and a degree of organisation is required. However, there are things you can do which don’t require a lot of organisation or hours writing funding applications. Guerilla vegetable and fruit gardening is one of those things you can do…
If there’s an awkward shaped smallish plot of land in your neighbourhood that’s been neglected and no one’s sure who owns or has responsibility for it, why not cultivate it for the benefit of the community? Canvas opinion in the immediate neighbourhood to see how much support there is for the idea of transforming the plot from an eyesore into a vegetable and fruit garden that will become a vital community asset. Find out who’s willing to help you work on it and then work out a plan for what you want to do.
You could ask for permission if you want but if the land has been neglected for years, then whoever is responsible for it obviously doesn’t care about the impact of their neglect on your neighbourhood so…just get on with it! There’s a welcome, non-violent anti-authoritarian aspect to guerilla gardening that should be embraced.
While at one level, it’s about making your neighbourhood a better place to live, at a more fundamental level, it’s asking questions about land ownership and control. It also offers a more sustainable method of securing genuinely fresh vegetables and fruit than that offered by large scale farming and the massive corporations that control the sourcing, supply and distribution of our food.
The other benefits are building a feeling of solidarity and cohesion in your neighbourhood as people get together to work on a common project. A project that as it matures will give people a sense of pride in and responsibility towards their neighbourhood and boost community morale. A confidence booster that can inspire people to take on bigger and more complex projects that will start to lead to real, meaningful change.
Start small, gain confidence, start to think bigger but above all… just do it!