Making community food growing part or every town & city – The Big Dig Project plans to expand across England.

Across England, six cities are already participating in the Big Dig Programme: Brighton & Hove, London, Sheffield, Middlesborough, Coventry and Manchester.

The Big Dig is a national project to engage people in community food growing projects across England, and is all about making community food growing a part of every urban landscape.

The Big Dig’s first national event across its initial six city partners took place in September 2012 and involved 116 food growing gardens and over 3,000 people.

After a successful period of working with just six cities, the Big Dig is now planning to expand and work with other cities and towns across England, and help them become hubs of food growing activity.

In London, Sustain (as part of the Big Dig) has supported the development of over 2,000 new community growing spaces as part of the Capital Growth Project, engaging people of all ages and backgrounds.  The benefits are immense, not only in terms of brightening up our urban spaces, but also in terms of health, community cohesion and improved biodiversity.

Here in Birmingham we have a huge amount of activity taking place on all scales. Some is known about and widely publicised, much I feel is perhaps not, and is almost hidden away in estates and urban areas within the city.

Involvement in the Big Dig will help support these urban growing activities, as well as providing a means of publicising and developing many of these activities which so benefit the local communities.  It will increase the noise about the community grow spaces we have, as well as support the development of new ones, as well as more widely publicising the many health, social and environmental benefits of growing food together.

So how can you contribute?

  • Get involved . . . and start by posting a comment below about your grow space on Growing Birmingham. We’ll add it to the list!
  • Volunteer at one of the many groups which are involved in community gardens; e.g. The Urban Veg Hub at Winterbourne, Martineau Gardens are just two examples
  • Visit your local community growing space, or urban allotment and get involved.
  • Reach out and engage the local community in your growing project or set up a group to develop a new one . . .


6 Responses to Making community food growing part or every town & city – The Big Dig Project plans to expand across England.

  1. Chris Blythe says:

    Bringing The Big Dig to Birmingham……

    Earlier this month, The Big Dig put out a communication which invited more towns and cities to become involved in the programme next year. Since Birmingham is not involved, an expression of interest has been sent and some discussions started.

    It appears that one of the reasons why the Big Dig has not involved Birmingham previously due to the lack of a partner organisation in the City.

    If the Big Dig is to be brought to Birmingham to the benefit of all, a number of questions need to be addressed..

    1) Given the benefits that the Big Dig would bring, Is there a need or desire to bring the Programme to the City (I think the answer to this is a given…a resounding yes)

    2) Would your group or other groups which you work with be interested in participating in the Big Dig.

    3) Would your group like to be involved in the umbrella organisation to partner the Big Dig in Birmingham?

    4) What would this ‘umbrella organisation’ look like? – would it be something new or could it be an already existing organisation?

    5) Funding details at the moment are sketchy to say the least, although Its likely that once involved in the project funding bidswould be invited in the future. So with this in mind, how much progress can be made in bringing the Big Dig to Birmingham on what will be initially a shoestring?

    These are just some of the initial questions on which your views are invited. There are probably many others, and these would be welcomed at this stage with a view to providing answers as soon as possible.

    We would welcome your thoughts on the above, as well as those of your group and any others you are involved with. Please circulate to any others who may be interested in developing this exciting project in the city from its early stages. In terms of time scales, the Big Dig is proposing to do some media stuff in the middle of November about new cities signing up, for this we need to have at least 5 sites across the city who are wanting to get involved by then……so initial responses by 10th November please…

  2. A Big Dig in the Growing Gap | Growing Birmingham says:

    […] resident Chris Blythe (of North Summerfield Residents Association Grow Site on Coplow Street) canvassed city organisations and food growing groups about their interest in the Big Dig project. Following […]

  3. Stuart says:

    Can you put us in touch with companies that wish to volunteer on an outdoor project? We hear there are lots that do this but we cannot get in touch with them.

    • Kate Cooper says:

      Do you want to volunteer? Or have you need of volunteers?

      We can’t help you directly, but we might be able to point you in the right direction.

  4. Jo Spencer says:

    Thornbridge Allotments on Beeches Road in Great Barr (B42) will be opening its gates on the 21st September and everyone is welcome to come and visit our site and ask questions about growing your own etc. Everyone will also have the opportunity to plant and take away with them their very own onion to start them on the path of growing your own. We will have lots of information to take away about growing your own, attracting wildlife to your garden, and anything else we can provide on the day. And more importantly, there will also be refreshments available. We look forward to seeing you there.


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