Plenty of us in Didsbury live in flats, with no access to garden space for growing. While a lot can be grown indoors, local allotment waiting lists follow the national trend of being long, leaving plenty of people looking for land to grow on.
The Didsbury Dinners community food growing project aims to:
- bring together people who have land to share and people who want land to grow their own food
- reduce food miles (and packaging) by creating more local fruit, vegetables and herbs, to be used and enjoyed by residents and businesses
- involve the local community
- make our neighbourhood an even more attractive, healthy place to live.
In July 2011, we used funding from Didsbury Dinners: The Low-Carbon Community Cookbook to establish our first new community orchard on Stenner Lane in Didsbury.
Didsbury Greening and Growing Group planted 40 fruit trees on land at the back of the TocH rugby pitches – apple, pear, plum and damson. This fruit is there to be enjoyed by anyone, for free. Fruit has already started to appear!
Since 2011, we’ve also established:
- Barlow Moor Road Community Garden
- Landshare plots in Chorlton, Didsbury and Withington
- Fog Lane Park Community Orchard
Here’s how you can help:
1. Join our community growing team as a volunteer for the day (or hour)! We plant at our new community gardens most Saturdays (12-2 pm) between March and October, and many hands make light work. Help us to plant new fruit bushes and trees… to be enjoyed by anyone in the community for free, for years to come. Just email us for details: grow[at]didsburydinners[dot]com. We even provide free refreshments while you work! No previous gardening experience is necessary.
2. Offer land for us to grow on. We still need land on which to plant fruit trees, vegetables and/or herbs, and seeds. Do you have a spare patch of garden you’re not using that you’d like to share? Would you like some free fruit and veg in return? Or maybe you’re a school, business or nursing home? Check out the Landshare website’s case studies to see how others have done it, or have a chat with the Didsbury Dinners team.
3. Grow your own at home, big or small. Whether it’s a windowsill chilli plant or pot of herbs, or a tree in your back garden, we want to shout about it! Please email: grow[at]didsburydinners[dot]com your food plant photos to us with a brief description, and we’ll add them to the photo montage on our website! The idea is to capture people’s imaginations with what we can all grow at home, with minimal effort.
Love to grow your own fresh fruit and veg, but wouldn’t have a clue where to start? Our real-life case studies show how it’s done. You can even grow mushrooms indoors for £1 (with no need for green fingers, we might add…)
4. Help fund our planting (and community cooking) efforts with a donation. Seven trees are enough to offset your carbon footprint for a year. But even if all you have is a spare quid, we can grow it into much more!
Montrose, Properties Land owner
We are very happy with how the garden is looking and are glad to be a part of the project.
Matylda, Community gardening volunteer
I chose to volunteer for Didsbury Dinners community growing project because I wanted to learn something new and I was also hoping that gardening could be a relaxing pastime. I am also very interested in cooking and ways to be more eco-friendly, so gardening felt like the next step to become more self-sufficient.
I continue to volunteer because I find gardening a really satisfying thing to do and also because of the fantastic bunch of people involved in the project. Gardening also helps me transform the way I live and become more conscious when it comes to using and buying food, cosmetics, clothes, and so on.
I like that Didsbury Dinners is available to everyone irrespective of the level of gardening experience or social background.
I have enjoyed seeing the whole project growing and becoming more and more successful. It was nice to be part of something that has been carefully planned and then executed in the most fantastic way. I have also learnt more about escaping ‘the vicious cycle of consumerism’. The project has also showed me that change – on the micro-scale – is still possible. Please keep this project going!
Sarah, Community gardening volunteer
I love helping friends with their gardens and had just started my own veg bed at home, so I thought volunteering with Didsbury Dinners would be a great way to get fresh air, exercise and pick up some tips along the way.
I continue to volunteer because there is still so much work to do and so much to learn about what will and won’t grow on our plot. I like that it is a complete contrast to my day job. It’s a great work out, and although there are jobs that need doing there is a lot of autonomy to take a decision on what you want to achieve that day.
Apart from learning what will and won’t grow on our plot (which has been valuable in itself) I have found it really motivating to see how much can be achieved by hand by just a few volunteers.
It’s really interesting to meet people who have never had a garden or tried growing veg. I think it’s important that people realise where food comes from and how much effort goes into growing it. It’s great that people are starting to become more interested in growing their own again.
Monika, Community gardening volunteer
I chose to volunteer for the Didsbury Dinners project because after moving to Manchester I was looking for an opportunity to grow my own vegetables and do some gardening. I continue to volunteer for it because I really really love it.
Each and every aspect of Didsbury Dinners’ work is very inspiring. The community gardens, orchards, the book, Didsbury Food Trail, community cooking – everything!
I‘m really appreciating the great feedback from the project manager and wonderful attitude of the other volunteers Go DD!