A well-funded think tank, Create Streets, led by an advisor to Michael Gove has announced their support for a Right to Grow, following the already well-trodden foot steps of Incredible Edible and its many partners working on this issue.
Their latest report outlines the opportunities that a Right to Grow would offer communities and our environment. These community benefits are being well evidenced and hard-won by teams of Incredible Edible growers, as well as many other under-funded grass roots groups across the country who are getting their hands in the dirt and taking practical steps to change the narrative to one of hope and resilience through growing in urban spaces. Since the launch of Incredible Edible’s Right to Grow campaign in the Commons it has received cross-party and cross-sector support and has subsequently been debated as an amendment to the Levelling up Bill in the Lords. Local councils around the UK are also working with community growers on motions and plans to develop local right to grow initiatives. Disappointingly, none of this hard work towards Right to Grow initiatives, being carried out by under-funded groups and authorities, was recognised in the Create Streets report.
If we are to change our local environments and create spaces abundant with nature and food that genuinely level-up deprived communities, this cannot be brought to life from a top-down approach. Powerful London-based think tanks must work with people on the ground delivering the reality of a Right to Grow, and recognise the grinding and unfunded work these communities have devoted to the cause of growing in deprived urban environments.
All support for initiatives that empower communities to make changes for the environment are positive, but we need actions and a genuine spirit of collaboration, not just words and reports, if we are to truly green our communities.