Thousands join national day of action to kick off the growing season

On Saturday 27 April, 114 community food gardens across the UK welcomed over 2,000 people to their Big Dig Day with almost half visiting gardens for the first time. 

Photo competition winners: Mind Food CIC

Photo competition winners: Mind Food CIC

If last year was our hottest ever, this year was probably the wettest, but that didn't deter growers, old and new: “More people turned up than expected and we even had an impromptu barbeque!” reported the coordinator of St Stephen's Well Community Garden, Leeds. “It was heart-warming to see children planting seeds and getting their hands dirty!

The Big Dig Day, this year took place in over 15 towns and cities who are part of the Sustainable Food Cities network and taking action to get people eating more vegetables as part of the Veg Cities campaign.  This included Manchester, where Sow the City, who run a local network of growers helped 13 gardens take part. 

Some gardens, such as Spurgeon Secret Garden in London,took the opportunity to open up their gates for the first time in years. They explained “The Big Dig inspired us to open the gates for the first time in 22 year and dig out all dilapidated structures and lay the foundation for our new forest garden”.

For many gardens it was a chance to reconnect and build enthusiasm at the start of the new season. And despite the name of the event, more and more were extoling the benefits on a no-dig approach to growing.  “We had a fantastic Big Dig Day with many workshops teaching people about a no-dig approach and supporting the soil-food web. Everyone had a great time and we got lots of work done in the garden!”  commented Cecil Sharp House Permaculture Garden, London. 

Those who were not able to take part in the day, can still get involved in learning to grow or sharing their skills at their local community food garden which they can find on the Big Dig Map, and features 250 groups looking for volunteers.

And in London people can get involved in the Capital Growth food growers network or attend their growing workshops across the city.

Finally, congratulations to the winners of our photo competition, Mind Food CIC, London and all the incredible runners-up. Check out all the photos on Twitter #BigDig2019

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Capital Growth: The Capital Growth campaign, run by Sustain's London Food Link offers practical and financial support to communities around London to help more people grow more food, and to have greater access to land and growing spaces for community benefit. The Capital Bee project, part of Capital Growth, seeks pledges to promote bee-friendly behaviour, and supports establishment of community beehives.

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