Coronavirus update for community gardens

Last updated 13 May 2020

As the Coronavirus crisis dominates the national and global landscape, the Capital Growth team are supporting members projects and gardens to help you access online training and support and ensure as many of you as possible continue to grow food.   

Our survey received over 100 responses. Read our news item or download our report to find out more about what community gardens are saying about the crisis.

Many of you told us you want to grow food this season and we think it's critical to keep our community gardens and allotments growing through the Covid-19 crisis, where safe to do so.

Our support

We are now helping local networks and gardens to do so - through

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Blog: Why it’s critical to keep our community gardens and allotments growing during Coronavirus

Supporting community gardens during Covid-19 

We know the health and wellbeing benefits that community food growing brings and how important our gardens are for the people that use them.  

As the team at OrganicLea says “Being outdoors is good for us all and for our overall health and wellbeing.  Looking after our mental health is crucial at this time and many of us find that green spaces and nature connection supports us through difficult times such as these.”   

Now more than ever it is critical to keep people and gardens growing as part of longer-term resilience and we know there has been a surge of interest in growing your own.  We want to make sure people are doing it well, safely – and in a nature friendly way! 

Guidance for community gardens during Covid-19 

We have adapted various online guidance for you to use for your local projects and gardens. 

Access and travel

  • Gardens should be accessible for members only rather than open to the public. 
  • Anyone considered medically vulnerable/ subject to government shielding advice should not visit the garden.
  • Rotas should be set up where there are a lot of members to limit the numbers of visitors into a garden at any one time. 
  • During Covid-19 outbreak growers must travel to gardens by bike or foot.  At no time should public transport be used. 
  • Garden leaders should publicise maximum numbers of visitors on any communications and on external signage. This should include reference to government guidance on social distancing. 

Social distancing and Sanitation

  • At all times social distance (minimum 2m) must be maintained between growers. Click here for guidance
  • Hand washing should be followed according to government guidance. Wash your hands when you arrive at the garden, wear gloves while working in the garden and ensure you only use your own gloves and take those home with you.  
  • Keep hand sanitiser available where possible and use before opening and closing any gate locks. 
  • Ensure any visitor to the site washes their hands before they engage in growing activities even if they are going to wear gloves.  
  • Growers should only use tools if wearing (own) gloves, otherwise no tools to be shared,  
  • Do not offer guest gloves to garden visitors or volunteers during this period. 
  • If children are onsite, ensure that they stay within its confines and do not run around on communal paths and spaces. 
  • We recommend that all communal facilities are closed.  e.g tea making facilities. 
  • Click here for guidance if you do need to clean an area that has been visited by an infected person. 

Notices for your garden

Kate Poland from the Union of Hackney Gardens has kindly shared her notices which you can adapt.  One is targeted for users and the other for the wider community so they understand why you are still using the site.

Example notice to users

Example notice to wider community 

Other guidance 

Grow-your-own advice 

With many people stuck at home we are looking to compile useful advice on growing your own food.  If you come across any that you don't see on here, let us know by emailing capitalgrowth@sustainweb.org 

Online training

  • Hackney Herbal has a lot of free resources on social media/HH blog for herbs growing and nature connection and doing some online ticketed workshops for growing herbs. 
  • Cordwainer's Grow are offering short workshops/videos on composting, growing your own food and propagation on social media.
  • Brockwell Community Greenhouses are running some remote sessions including Gardeners Question Time, Fermentation classes anda Singing Group.  There are also green activities for children on their Youtube channel here.
  • Core Landscapes community roof garden in Hackney are offering a range of short films from their award-winning movable community garden.  With gardening tips and tours round garden spaces, to boost mental health and wellbeing and support you to get the most from your growing space however small it may be. A fantastic resource!

 

School/at home resources for children

  • Capital Growth log on to the dashboard for school resources, or you can find some activities and ideas on our website
  • Garden Organic has practical advice and activities for all ages on how to start and maintain an organic food growing garden on their school resources page
  • Trees for Cities  has a selection of curriculum guides, lesson plans and a range of other resources to support you to teach through food growing.
  • The RHS has activities, projects, lesson plans & other resources suited to your educational needs.
  • The Orchard Project have some homeschooling resources available: Primary School Lesson Plans and Activities

Garden equipment and materials

This is updated as frequently as we can.  If you know of anywhere else that has seeds or soil available please let us know by contacting capitalgrowth@sustainweb.org 

Seeds 

  • Tamar Organics – shop open every weekday (excluding bank holidays) between 9-10am.  
  • Vital Seeds – open from 9am everyday until their quota for the day is reached. 
  • Seed Cooperative – open sporadically but updating people on Twitter and on the website often. 
  • Real Seeds – only taking as many orders per week as they can but still open and delivering.
  • Organic Gardening Catalogue - open but seeds being dispatched in 7-10 days, and other gardening equipment between 14-21 days.
  • Rocket Gardens (plug plants) - orders placed in April likely to be delivering in mid/late May 

Seed saving resources

If you can’t access any but would like to start to save your own seed look here...

Compost/Soil 

  • Dalefoot Composts - Organic, peat-free sheep’s wool compost, still delivering with reduced available products.
  • Fertile Fibre - Peat-free, organic, coir compost, still delivering large and small quantities.
  • The Compost Shop - Organic, peat-free compost for delivery in large amounts. 
  • Earth Cycle - Organic composts and soil conditioners in bulk. 
  • Organic Gardening Catalogue have some bags available but with a 14 day delivery period.
  • Compost Direct- Is delivering large quantities in bulk, perhaps to be shared among gardens if necessary.  

Other 

Join our virtual training programme 

Capital Growth are bringing you new online short sessions and longer training sessions.

Check out our training page

 

Other responses to Covid-19 

We have started to collect stories and information on food growing that are relevant to Coronavirus. Please check them out here and do share any you have with capitalgrowth@sustainweb.org 

Local community garden campaigns and responses

  • Incredible Edible Lambeth are about to launch a campaign to encourage neighbours to share seedlings to promote home food growing. Incredible edible will be providing resources (seeds, pots, compost etc.) to 25 households (for the pilot, which will then increase to 100). Seedlings will then be distributed among the community by Father Nature using bikes and milk floats. 

From the media

Guidance outside the UK

Capital Growth/Sustain take no responsibility for the content of any external websites or articles and only want to signpost growers to the places where you might find the resources you need.

We do recommend that you try to buy from your local or independent garden centres/businesses where possible, and to buy seed with minimal intervention, and peat-free soil and compost. 

Official information and guidance 

We advise that you check the NHS and .Gov websites regularly for accurate and up-to-date information: 

 

Read more about Sustain’s Coronavirus Food Alert here: https://www.sustainweb.org/coronavirus/ 

 

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Capital Growth

Capital Growth is London's Food Growing Network, with over 2000 members. Whether you are growing at home, as part of an allotment, in a community group or school you can join for free to receive benefits such as discounts, advice and monthly enewsletters.

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Last updated: 26/03/2020
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