Farnham Garden Share


The aim of this project is to link up Farnham residents who have under-used garden land, with people who would like to use it to grow fruit or vegetables.

Why this matters:

Many people in Farnham would like to grow their own fruit and veg — the waiting list for allotments is currently over 120 people. And yet there is land lying unused.

This initiative will help us to grow more healthy, fresh food locally in Farnham. It will help reduce weekly shopping bills during the current credit crunch. And it is also better for the environment because it reduces the distance that our food is transported, turning “food miles” into “food feet”!

The new friendships that form will help to strengthen our community — a key aim of Transition Farnham. And this initiative will also help prepare us for the effects of rising fuel prices as oil starts to run out.

What we are doing:

We provide a ‘dating’ service that matches gardeners with garden owners in Farnham and outlying villages. We do this on the basis of compatibility and local proximity. We also interview and vet the people who want to take part, and make sure that the gardens meet certain criteria — for instance having suitable growing soil and access without going through the house.

To make sure that there are no misunderstandings, both parties will be asked to sign an agreement that defines clearly what they expect of one another.

We will provide a standard contract that defines the agreed hours of access, whether tools may be stored on-site, what proportion of the produce will be given by the gardener to the garden owner, and so on. But each agreement is between that gardener and that garden owner, so they can change the wording to say whatever they agree between them.

We put people in touch — the agreement they reach between them is up to them. But the experience of other Transition Towns is that it is good for both parties to be completely clear about what they are committing to do. For example, what seems to work well is that the gardener gives the garden owner around a quarter or a fifth of the produce grown.

How to Get Involved:

If you have some spare garden land, or would like to grow your own fruit or veg locally, call Ian Bysh on 01252 738546.

Other Related links:

We are currently setting up an organic veg growing course and community orchards projects. Links will be added here when they are ready. In the meantime you can can find out more and maybe get involved by calling Ian on the above number.

You might also like to contact the Farnham Allotments association through their website here. Or you might like to join the Farnham Local Food Initiative, a group of local people who are cooperating to grown their own food, through their website here.

And there’s a nice short film about “permablitzing” gardens in Australia, here.

This article in the Telegraph (Feb 2009) says that “land sharing schemes are the way ahead”.

There are more food-related links in the right hand side-bar.


5 Responses to Farnham Garden Share

  1. There’s a problem with the link I added. Try hyperlocavore.com or my blog hyperlocavore.wordpress.com.

    Happy Digging!


  2. It’s wonderful to see this idea taking off. I have developed hyperlocavore to assist folks in the US to get garden or yardsharing going in their communities!

  3. I like the idea of council getting behind garden share schemes – especially in using land adjoining local authority housing areas.

    In talking to some roadworkers recently, they complained of having no budget to do anything much other than clean road signs. Perhaps they could be encouraged to use their skills elsewhere within the council’s jurisdiction? There is an enormous amount of asphalt that needs digging up in playgrounds and schools, ready for planting and natural play areas.

  4. Michael Clements says:

    You might be interested to know that In Dieppe, France they are just starting a garden sharing scheme. (jardins partagés) In the latest edition of the town magazine ‘le Journal de Bord’ see http://www.mairie-dieppe.fr/JDB/JDB-02-09/Jdb02-09.pdf – there is an article on page 9. It seems to be a group-based activity, using private areas of land and the council-owned land adjoining local authority housing areas. The municipality prepares these sites initially using its own works department. (service des espaces verts)
    An owner and a garden-sharer describe in french how the arrangements worked when she let 6 members of the Oxygene group cultivate some impressive looking vegetable plots in her garden in this slideshow video: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/k1WhSd89uaLvjmVI1S

  5. Rob says:

    This reads very well and is quite clear.

    However, shouldn’t there be some mention that the scheme is not intended as a garden maintenance service ?

    Also, shouldn’t there be some mention of the need to check/advise that the garden owner has PLI cover in their domestic insurance schedule ?

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