Updated: Saturday, 26th May 2018 @ 7:36am

'Growing your own food is important and essential': Thousands to take part in Big Dig across Manchester

'Growing your own food is important and essential': Thousands to take part in Big Dig across Manchester

By Ben Ireland

More than 5,000 dedicated and committed volunteers are expected to take part in the Edible Gardens, Manchester, open day today.

The project, which is part of the nationwide ‘Big Dig’ campaign, aims to generate locally sourced produce at affordable prices for residents of Greater Manchester, with more than 20 community food-growing gardens taking part.

Many of the participating community food gardens are putting on activities such as garden tours, talks, games and BBQs, as well as selling garden produce and homemade food.

Helen Woodcock, of The Kindling Trust, the co-ordinating body for Greater Manchester, said: “It is really exciting that Manchester is one of the six cities in the UK taking part in this national event.

“Gardening and community gardens have blossomed over the last decade, and growing your own food has never been more important.

“This event is about encouraging more people to join us, both at existing food growing projects and to get people inspired to set up their own!”

Following on from the weekend’s events, Manchester Museum allotment will be giving a sneak peak of its contribution next Saturday, September 22.

Their open day will showcase exotic vegetables such as purple-podded peas and blue potatoes, but their message is that we can sustain our own communities.

Museum employee Anna said: “The aim of the allotment is to celebrate food growing in the heart of the university.”

Following news of the Big Lottery Fund awarding £1million to Real Food Wythenshaw for their Walled Garden Project, the open day is an indication that the community-led scheme is already well underway.

The five-year plan for the walled garden is to maintain a sustainable ‘urban biosphere’, which would produce cheaper food for the area to help tackle rising costs of healthy and organic food.

The project also provides therapeutic training in horticulture, and woodworking skills for adults with learning disabilities. They sell plants and vegetables, as well as bird tables, boxes and planters made from recycled wood.

The Big Dig’s Clare Horrell said: “The Edible Open Gardens events will be the first time many of these gardens have been opened to the public.

“We want people to come and visit, taste what is growing and be inspired to get involved so that growing food becomes part of every community.”

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