Energy Plus Academy Greening Community Spaces Think Tank
Read the EPA Headline Report October 2021
Green spaces in urban areas can play a crucial role in tacking climate change through improving biodiversity, absorbing C02, and contributing to sustainable food growing. This 24-hour think tank bought together 35 representatives from community growing projects and social housing neighbourhoods to explore the impact of 'greening' projects in communities, the benefits of getting involved in community growing to physical and mental wellbeing, and how projects can be organised.
The Think Tank gave attendees the opportunity to share ideas and experiences, think through the challenges and ways to overcome them. At the end of the Think Tank, participants were given the opportunity to develop action plans to implement in their own communities, linked to a small pump-priming grant.
Some of the key lessons from the event include:
- To add green spaces to urban areas you need to think creatively, for example pots and hanging baskets can be used in small spaces and balconies, disused land can be turned into community growing projects, grass verges and roundabouts can be used to plant wildflowers and pollinating plants
- Growing projects helps to bring a community together, reduces isolation, and generates a sense of pride in communities
- Greening and gardens can help raise awareness of climate change, give people an understanding and experience of the power of nature, and provide a platform for wider conversation and action
- To organise a community growing project, groups need a designated person who can lead on the project, and a clear plan of how the project will work. Funding for community growing projects is usually very limited in both amount and timing, and more long-term funding would help groups become more sustainable