The ‘Grounded’ Gardening Community Project

Becoming a ‘Back Garden Farmer’ – feed your family, feed your friends, and feed your community by Alex McLean

The ‘Grounded’ community project, based in Bournemouth, is aimed at supporting people to learn, gain skills and make good choices about food, health and lifestyle. Michael French, one of the facilitators, has arranged a partnership with Avon Valley Nurseries near Fordingbridge as an over flow from their ‘Secret Garden’ space in Boscombe.

At the nursery there is strawberry picking and a little steam train, but they are only used in summer months, so an arrangement

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Working hard at Avon nurseries

was made to use 1/4 of an acre of greenhouse to grow vegetables and act as an overflow to the Secret Garden growing space. The overall aim is to encourage people to grow their own food to feed their families/ friends and to then produce some revenue to carry on the project work! It is exciting that money really does grow on trees (or in the ground) and growing your own food can act as a real subsidy to your food bill and even earn a bit of extra income too. This part of the project is called ‘Back Garden Farmer’.

Michael invited Inclusion to get involved at Avon Valley and there has been a lot of interest from service users and to date 8 people have been involved.

Michael estimates that Inclusion volunteers have provided 150 hours of active volunteering (pretty intensive gardening) in just over a month!

He said “I have been amazed at how much we have achieved in such a short time, thanks to the efforts of the team, we will be ready to plant in no time”.

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Taking a well-earned rest!

Alex McLean and Louise Hansford have taken the lead in coordinating the project for Inclusion and Alex has recruited a local team who have really enjoyed preparing the site ready for planting in February. Alex says “So far we have cultivated tIRH PIC - Comm Event Grounded 1he soil, done all the weeding, added manure, rotivated and even taken some soil samples to ensure that the food we grow will be of the best quality!”

The ground will be left now till the New Year and then we can start the planting.
There are many other exciting prospects we would like to make a reality on this site, and I’m sure with the continued support of our committed service users the possibilities are endless”.


If you are interested in getting involved please contact Louise Hansford on 07966899327 or by email