Your Planet Doctors CIC (YPD) successfully piloted the first Grow Your Own Rainbow Gardens on the Beaufort Estate in Southbourne earlier this year. This project saw residents receiving free raised beds complete with seedlings and gardening support. Throughout the year, the YPD team have kept in regular contact with residents offering them growing advice and support to help them grow their own fruit and veg.
The pilot demonstrated how teaching people in small groups to grow their own food is a powerful way to bring them together and that community initiatives can spring spontaneously from this. Residents improved in confidence and self-esteem, while friendships and veggies grew too.
We’re now on the lookout for new housing estates and associations to roll this out to.
We, as YPD, have joined forces with ForeverMore Food to expand and strengthen our scope for positive change. We’re working together on a joint venture which will ultimately enable individuals and families to be able to purchase sustainable, affordable, locally sourced, and chemical free food. We aim to empower residents, and help them build cohesive resilient neighbourhoods by becoming an integral part of this food growing process.
ForeverMore Food is a Dorset-based CIC that grew out of a food delivery service in the local area. Passionate about chemical free food and local produce, Founder Lawrence Camilleri, went above and beyond the home delivery model and began teaching neighbourhood groups to grow their own veggies to swap with one another.
The Grow Your Own Rainbow Gardens project and Lawrence’s ForeverMore Food project had too much synergy to ignore, so we’ve worked together on a joint project. The plan is for people to grow together with support and guidance from us. Anyone that grows in their gardens – say a crop of spring onions – then enters into our ‘Crop Swap’ credit system. It’s much easier to grow one single crop, and you can do this with just a metre square of earth, but I don’t know many people who’d want to eat that many spring onions! So, growers harvest their crop and pass these on to ForeverMore Food. The more they harvest, the more credits they get, and the less they pay for a generously stocked food box, all of which is locally grown and chemical free. And, we’re including recipes for the lovely veggies in the boxes too!
We’ve put together a video which introduces you to residents on the Beaufort estate, as well as myself, and Lawrence while we explain how it all works. You can see this video on YouTube here:
. If you like what you see, we would love a like, comment, or share – we’re very keen to spread the word.
Our vision is for people across Dorset to become members of Crop Swap, and through this, build mutually supportive communities, enjoying better health and assurance of affordable nutritious food, the price of which will come down as membership increases.
Food miles will be reduced, with food shortages and soaring costs no longer posing the same threat. Mental and physical health will improve, and self-assured communities can begin to thrive. All profits will be returned to the community, and when fully operational, this initiative can be used as a scalable template for anyone, with our support, to adopt.
As you know, this is a mission very close to my heart and if there’s anything you can do to help or support us, it would mean the world to me.
With Warmest wishes
Dr Anne Hayden MBE. Director and Founder of Your Planet Doctors and Grow Your Own Rainbow Gardens Campaign