"I just hope our descendants can forgive us for what we are about to do here and that one day a flower can grow again in Moss Side without it being punched and then set on fire."
Still hurting from the sudden death of Rochdale Borough’s Arts Officer Beate Meilemeier, the Revenue Funded Arts Organisations of Rochdale Borough and leading local freelance artists have decided that the best way to protect themselves in these difficult economic times is to unify and diversify.
In the last two years there has been a rapid expansion in initiatives and projects aimed at tackling the demand for community gardening and food growing. This has been due to an upsurge in interest in 'growing your own', as well as an awareness of other issues such as health and well-being and climate change.
Existing provision of land, particularly allotments, has proved inadequate in the face of this demand, so groups and organisations at national, regional and local levels have begun creating a plethora of initiatives.
Public plantings in streets and communal areas has a long tradition of making a neighbourhood a more pleasant place to live. Traditionally street greenery was made up primarily of flowers and shrubs, from municipal hanging baskets to flower borders, from shrubbery areas to trees.
Until recently, there were few if any initiatives to grow edible plants using street space, communal areas eg precincts and marginal areas bordering streets or roads. But several different ideas are now taking off which make use of these public areas for vegetable and fruit growing.