Coronavirus & community gardens
As the Coronavirus crisis continues to dominate the national and global landscape, the Capital Growth team are reaching out to members, projects and gardens to see how we can support as many of you as possible to continue to grow food.
Last updated 21 July 2020
Our survey received over 100 responses. Read our news item or download our report to find out how community gardens are responding to 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.
We are helping local networks and gardens to keep growing through the pandemic in the following ways:
- Online training
- Webinars to share experiences
- Community Harvest: a new project to grow food to share
Read on for
And check out our subpages in the menu on
- resources and materials
- other responses to Covid-19
Our post-lockdown community food growing webinar on Wednesday 1 July, was organised by Sustainable Food Places and Sustain for Capital Growth and Good to Grow gardens.
The webinar covered strategies for re-opening gardens in a safe way and identified areas for support and widening participation.
Speakers included: Sustain, Social Farms and Gardens, Story Garden, Calthorpe Garden, Penrose Roots, Cordwainers Grow and Ageing Better.
We know how important food growing can be for the wellbeing of people and whole communities. 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!
We have teamed up with several community gardens (including Calthorpe and Story Garden) and used their policies to create documents you can download and adapt according to your setting:
Below are some general guidance points to use in your garden or project:
Access and travel
- Gardens should be accessible for members only rather than open to the public (this will be changing after new guidelines are announced after 4 July)
- Anyone considered medically vulnerable/subject to government.shielding advice should not visit the garden.
- Rotas or booking slots should be set up where there are a lot of members to limit the numbers of visitors into a garden at any one time.
- Growers are advised to travel to gardens by bike or foot and avoid public transport if possible (in the event of another peak, public transport should be avoided all together by garden users).
- Garden leaders should publicise maximum number 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 1m and 2m where possible) 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.
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.
You may be thinking about approaching your local authority to ask them to support local food production (especially in the context of Covid-19). If you want more support around this, please get in touch with us and/or adapt the below template letter for use with your local authority.
- National Allotment Society response to Covid-19
- Social Farms and Gardens response to Covid-19
- Social Farms & Gardens insurance advice for community gardens and farms
- Landworker’s Alliance Coronavirus response and resources page.
Join our virtual training programme
Capital Growth are bringing you new online short sessions and longer training sessions.
Official information and guidance
We advise that you check the NHS and .Gov websites regularly for accurate and up-to-date information:
- UK government response
- Guidance for employers
- Support for people affected by COVID-19
- NHS pages
- NHS Volunteer Responders
Read more about Sustain’s Coronavirus Food Alert here: https://www.sustainweb.org/coronavirus/
Support our work
Your donation will help communities grow more food in gardens across London.
Capital Growth is a project of Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming.