The Big Dig is being funded by the Cabinet Office’s Social Action Fund . Six cities – Brighton, Coventry, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough and Sheffield - are taking part. Partner organisations  in each of the cities will provide advice and training to volunteers, helping them to create vibrant community food gardens. In addition to the city partners, a further partner, The Federation of City Farms & Community Gardens , will support and advise groups in the six cities on land issues. The project builds on the success of Capital Growth  which has helped over 60,000 people to get involved in new community food growing spaces in London.
As well as working with established community growing spaces, the Big Dig will develop new sites and aim to attract volunteers from communities who traditionally do not volunteer. The project will also be running a series of open days and events to encourage another 13,000 people to get down to their local growing site.
Ben Reynolds, Network Director at Sustain said: "We were thrilled to receive funding from the Social Action Fund to support the Big Dig. We can now work with other towns and cities across England to encourage volunteering at community food growing spaces."
Mark Fishpool, of Middlesbrough Environment City, one of the local implementation partners of the Big Dig, commented: “We’ve seen a huge increase in interest in food growing in our town. Being part of this project will allow us to extend our support to those who want to get growing and reach out to people who want to get growing for the first time.”
Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd said: "Through these funds we are backing ideas that will inspire more people to get involved. Whether it be taking the chance to help a young person or transform a neglected space, they will be making a positive difference. That's going to be good for them and their communities. This is also good for the taxpayer because alongside the Government’s investment, partners are investing almost £15m.”
1. Follow The Big Dig on twitter @thebigdiguk, or visit our website www.bigdig.org.uk
2. Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity. Sustain represents around 100 national public interest organisations working at international, national, regional and local level. http://www.sustainweb.org/
3. The Social Action Fund is managed by The Social Investment Business, on behalf of the Cabinet Office. The Fund supports social action projects in England from civil society organisations, public sector bodies and businesses with a track record of delivering social action programmes. The Social Action Fund is part of a broader programme of support for social action that was announced in the Giving White Paper and takes its place alongside two other funding streams - Innovation in Giving Fund and Challenge Prizes.
4. The six partner organisations that will run the Big Dig are Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, Brighton http://www.bhfood.org.uk/; Garden Organic, Coventry http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/index.php; Capital Growth, London http://www.capitalgrowth.org/; The Kindling Trust, Manchester http://kindling.org.uk/; Middlesbrough Environment City, Middlesbrough http://www.menvcity.org.uk/; Grow Sheffield, Sheffieldhttp://www.growsheffield.com/
5. The Federation of City Farms & Community Gardens exists to support, represent and promote community-managed farms and gardens across the United Kingdom. http://www.farmgarden.org.uk
6. Capital Growth is a campaign to help create 2,012 new community growing spaces by the end of 2012. The campaign is run by Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming and is a partnership initiative between London Food Link, the Mayor of London and the Big Lottery’s Local Food Fund. http://www.capitalgrowth.org/