Who takes care of these spaces?

  • Like most public spaces with plants, public spaces are designed to be low-maintenance. A volunteer from Transition or from the neighbourhood might check in on the plants while they are getting established, or see to pruning once-a-year. Community spaces can only be established if there is support in the community to care for them in the long-term.

I’m thinking of volunteering with Growing Spaces – how much time would I have to invest?

  • That depends entirely on how much time you want to commit! Maybe you’re busy but you’d like a space in your neighbourhood to look nicer, so you might spend an hour a month giving it some care. Or maybe you have ambitious edible landscaping ideas and can commit to following them through, so you might take on a new space, be involved in its design, and grow bean tipis and direct strawberry rings or plan forest garden progression plantings.

What’s the difference between a public space and a community space?

  • A community space is accessed by a number of members of one community, such a block of flats, a community centre, or a neighbourhood garden. Some of our current community spaces include a garden at St. Regis, a block of Clare College flats and Woodlands Care Centre which includes a raised herb bed for low-mobility and wheelchair access. A public space potentially could be accessed by anyone in Cambridge, such as fruit bushes on the Midsummer Common.

Are you concerned with vandalism?

  • If people take ripe fruit or cut herbs from these plants, then that’s ok; in fact that is what they are there for! Most people who forage or get their food locally care enough not to take too much. Otherwise we don’t expect vandalism to be any more likely than for any other public plants, which are ubiquitous in Cambridge and seem to hold up just fine. Converting underused spaces into Growing Spaces may even decrease the likelihood of vandalism, as unused or neglected spaces tend to accumulate rubbish and encourage anti-social behaviour.