Neighbourhood Garden is the core idea of Edible Estates. We seek to establish a Neighbourhood Garden in every estate we work in. Whilst there are many types of community garden, we are quite specific about the role of our Neighbourhood Gardens, as an asset for the local community, which provides a ‘place’ and an activity to bring neighbours together and to promote community cohesion/resilience. Over the years we have developed and improved designs for our gardens, which now have a common set of features.
A large shared ‘Community Shed’, which houses a shared tool set for members. The shed has simple cooking facilities, and in some cases, a wood working bench. The shed also doubles up as the meeting room during the warmer months.
Raised beds for thirty to seventy growers. The beds are no larger than 4′ by 12′ (1.2 by 3.6m), but a surprising amount of food can be grown in them. Each household/individual has their own raised bed, decides what to grow and what to do with their produce. We normally also have several spare raised beds for group growing and/or teaching.
We plant a community orchard around the perimeter of the garden, using the ‘forest garden’ model. This will include a lot of fruit trees, bushes and ground cover perennials.
Once the group of growers are well established on the site we support them to set up a Growers Association and then build their capacity to take on the management of their Garden for themselves. After 2-3 years the Growers Association should be independent of Edible Estates, and part of our network.