UpFront Gardens

*****News Flash*****!

After a lot of graft and testing our ideas we have been successful in receiving a grant from the Big Lottery, to roll out our project in the Grangetown and Splott wards (Cardiff), over a three-year period. The project is called Growing Street Talk and already we have lots of peeps talking, greening their front gardens & streets and making great local connections. For more info on this project visit our Facebook profile and page and our Twitter feed.

This is our story….

UpFront Gardens CIC

…edible and wildlife friendly gardens which are right up your street!

UpFront Gardens is an initiative close to our heart because it has the twin aims of growing food and increasing biodiversity in highly built up urban areas.  The idea is to create productive front gardens in urban areas involving as many people as possible in the one street. The beauty of the plan is that each front garden will be primarily created and looked after by individual households but at the same time it will be a neighbourhood project where residents will discuss ideas, help each other and together create a street initiative which is about producing food, improving biodiversity and improving the attractiveness of their own neighbourhood. So it has all of the advantages that a private garden offers with all the advantages that a community project can bring.

Straightaway we have a sustainable way of growing food and improving biodiversity that is not reliant on volunteers and continuous project management but which still increases community connectivity, friendships and goodwill.

A bit of background… just over a 18 months ago, with sponsorship from Café Direct,  we designed and installed a prototype edible and wildlife friendly UpFront garden in Liz Court’s (co-director of UpFront) front yard.

Edible UpFront Garden Design for Liz's front gardenEdible UpFront garden, Splott, CardiffBumblebee on Thornless Blackberry flower in UpFront garden, Splott, Cardiff

As the garden has matured it has received a lot of positive comments and genuine interest from Liz’s neighbours.

Purple Kale which has set seed in UpFront Garden, Cardiff.Rhubarb & Curry plant in UpFront Garden, Cardiff.Morello Cherry in UpFront Garden, Cardiff.

To move the enterprise to the next level we sought the advice of business consultant Simon Michaels who really assisted us to hone in on the essential nature of UpFront and focus more precisely on what we were trying to achieve. Simon said we should try to do a small version of what we were proposing before trying for funding.

This led us to take part in The Big Lunch in June. We invited everyone in Liz’s street to come along and share in a lunch with many of the ingredients coming from our gardens.

Neighbours group shot at The Big Lunch event for UpFront GardensUpFront spread at the Big Lunch eventNeighbours discuss having an UpFront Garden at The Big Lunch event.

The result of this move is that we now have several of Liz’s neighbours wanting to participate and are now starting to design and helping them to install their gardens!

Not only has a wonderful positive thing happened but word has spread! and we have others from different streets interested in the project.

UpFront is flexible, if you are a residents or community group with fundraising capability, we can provide you with advice on raising the funds in order to enable the UpFront garden creations to be free or subsidised. We can also create the project for individuals within streets with no funding where householders are happy to pay for the garden design and installation directly. With all privately funded gardens we will be putting a percentage of the income received from this back into gardens where households need financial help to create their gardens.

Liz and the Edible Landscaping team bring a great combination of skills to this initiative. Edible Landscaping has over twenty years experience in garden design and installation and  have designed numerous private gardens along with several notable community gardens (Chapter Arts Centre, Adamsdown Community Garden and Denmark Farm Community Wildlife Garden to name a few). Liz brings her invaluable knowledge of working with communities and has been a key and important player in community development in Wales for over twenty years.

If you think that UpFront Gardens could work for you and your street we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us for a chat and we can go from there.

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