Food security and sustainable gardening practices at the heart of projects supported by new RHS community funds

January 18th 2022

A ‘Carbon Garden’ in Scunthorpe, a moveable market stall in Farnham and the restoration of a Victorian Orchard in Exeter are just some of the community projects receiving funding from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) as it reveals the first recipients of two new community funds.

The Community Environment Fund and Connected Communities Fund opened to applicants in 2021 and made available up to £5000 to those seeking to tackle local green issues, improve social connections and promote diversity and inclusion through plants and gardens.

More than 300 groups applied with 43 receiving on average £3000 to get their ideas off the ground or support their expansion. Many of the projects plan to implement more sustainable gardening practices, such as the introduction of new composting and watering systems by Herm Island and Bath Organic Group. Elsewhere, North Lincolnshire Council aim to create a 'Carbon Garden', which will absorb carbon and educate local people about environmental issues. Others, such as St Paul's Youth Forum, CLEAR Buckhaven & Methil, and the Northampton Hope Centre seek to improve access to fresh produce whilst bringing people together.

Joe Lowit, Community Garden Workshop Leader at St Paul’s Youth Forum in Blackhill, Glasgow, said: “Blackhill is a ‘food desert’, where there is little access to fresh fruit and veg and few opportunities for people to enjoy nutritious food together. We have been working hard to transform this, and provide young people with opportunities to learn, develop, and interact in a safe and fun environment.

We believe our programmes focused on eating and education can help deal with many of the issues young people in the area face, so we’re so excited to be able to expand our Blackhill’s Growing project with support from the RHS.

Andrea Van Sittart, Head of Outreach Development at the RHS, says: “The RHS recognises the impact a passion for plants and growing can have on bringing diverse groups together, building a greener community, and tackling social issues. We can’t wait to see these incredible projects progress as they begin to make a real difference in their local communities.

The two new community funds follow the launch of the RHS Planet-Friendly Gardening Campaign in September 2021, which highlights the impact community gardening can have on the climate and biodiversity crisis.

For more details about community gardening with the RHS and a full list of recipients, please visit:

Source: RHS Press Release