Centre for Wildlife Gardening, London Wildlife Trust, Credit: Penny Dixie
A new initiative is launched today which pays tribute to His Majesty, King Charles III’s long-standing commitment to the natural world and the environment – Coronation Gardens for Food and Nature.
Organised by The Wildlife Trusts in partnership with Incredible Edible, Garden Organic and the Women’s Institutes, the scheme will encourage people and communities across the United Kingdom to live sustainably and help wildlife recover by growing food and creating space for nature in gardens, on balconies and in shared greenspaces.
Coronation Gardens for Food and Nature is a three-year programme, which hopes to enthuse millions of people to grow their own food in wildlife-friendly gardens by providing advice and an opportunity to pledge their garden on a map. Its legacy is expected to last far into the future. The initiative will be kick-started by a grant of £247,834 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Community Gardens, Credit: Paul Harris
In pledging to take part in Coronation Gardens for Food and Nature, people would be encouraged to:
- Grow healthy food to eat – this could range from herbs and salads, through to vegetables and fruit trees depending on the space you have
- Plant pollinator-friendly blooms – butterflies, moths, bees and hoverflies all need sources of nectar and pollen to thrive. As they travel from flower to flower, they also pollinate them, enabling plants to set seed or bear fruit
- Create a water feature, which could be as simple as a submerged dish or as involved as digging a pond, lining it and oxygenating it using native plants such as hornwort
- Leave a patch of long grass or pile of logs to create shelter for wildlife and natural predators such as hedgehogs and frogs
- Go chemical and peat-free – avoid using pesticides, weedkillers, and peat!
The initiative will evolve as the partnership grows. Initial ideas, inspiration and help for communities and individuals to get started – plus the pledge that people can make by registering their garden on a map – are at www.mycoronationgarden.org.
Gardens can play a big role in giving nature a boost while also enabling people to enjoy seeing wildlife and grow their own food. Coronation Gardens for Food and Nature aims to encourage people to use existing gardens, rooftops, and shared greenspace, as well as to create new ones.
Credit: Paul Harris
Melissa Green, Chief Executive, NFWI (National Federation of Women’s Institutes) says:
“We are really excited to be working on this fantastic new initiative to celebrate HM the King’s longstanding commitment to sustainability and the environment. The WI has over a hundred years of proud history of protecting the natural environment, playing an active role in our communities, and promoting sustainability. We are honoured to be part of an initiative which continues the legacy of generations of members to safeguard the natural world and responds to the environmental challenges that face our generation and those ahead of us.”
Pamela Warhurst CBE, Chair of Incredible Edible, says:
“Growing fresh food to share in our neighbourhoods is the perfect way to reconnect with nature. Incredible Edible’s experience demonstrates we have places close to our homes that can be transformed into edible, nature-friendly spaces that reconnect people to each other, to healthier futures and to our environment. Through the power of small actions, in these Coronation Gardens and community beds, each of us can be a part of building a more sustainable future by simply coming together to grow food.”
Fiona Taylor, CEO Garden Organic, says:
“Garden Organic is delighted to be a founding partner of the Coronation Gardens project. We firmly believe that if everybody took even the smallest of steps to make their growing space – be that a garden, allotment, or pot on a window ledge – a sustainable haven, rich in wildlife and fresh homegrown food, the collective impact on the UK’s precious biodiversity would be significant.”
Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, says:
“Last year we gave £5million to support Nextdoor Nature, a flagship, UK-wide programme bringing communities together to help nature flourish where they live and work. We are pleased to help The Wildlife Trusts kick-start their next community initiative which expands on this concept, encouraging people to grow food in their own gardens and community spaces to help wildlife and nature thrive. Our initial funding will plant the roots for a project we expect to grow far beyond our support.”
Craig Bennett, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, says:
“During the past 50 years the King has frequently called for humanity to live in harmony with nature and has promoted sustainable food growing alongside planting for pollinators and pesticide-free gardening. Restoring nature and enhancing the health and wellbeing of communities has never been more important. We hope that people everywhere will enjoy helping wildlife whilst growing spuds and squash – and we’d like to invite groups across the UK to join our wonderful gardening coalition.”
Credit: Paul Harris
Plentiful evidence highlights the huge health and wellbeing benefits to people from regular contact with nature – but at the same time many people have little access to natural greenspaces. For example, in more than 1 in 10 neighborhoods 90%-100% of the population have no access to nature within 15 minutes’ walk – and the most deprived communities are more than twice as likely to live in areas with a small amount of natural space per person. As one in eight households has no garden, Coronation Gardens for Food and Nature will provide advice on how to connect with community schemes and use window boxes and balconies.
Further evidence shows that people are concerned about the environment and want to take action to help. Coronation Gardens for Food and Nature hopes to empower and inspire people and communities to share the joy of gardening across the British Isles.