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GROWing a Fairer Future: A garden with a difference

Posted by Nina Gora Gender lead, Oxfam in Greece

26th Jun 2012

With one billion people going hungry, the climate changing and resources depleting, we are doing what we always do to create sustainable, positive change. We are employing the tactics of the people who went before us, from those involved in the ending of the slave trade to those who ensured an end to South African apartheid. We are campaigning at every opportunity, recognising the power we hold as individuals to change the structures and systems that keep people in poverty.  

BBC Gardeners' World Live offered a great opportunity to campaign, with over 100,000 people interested in agriculture, food and gardens passing by, it made perfect sense to have a garden raising awareness about the issues that cause 1 in 7 of us to be hungry, as well as showcasing the solutions for solving it.

GROWing a Fairer Future showcased that we can fix a broken food system by adopting a two-pronged approach, of adopting more positive food choices ourselves and also ensuring decision makers are harnessing the potential of small scale farming to feed a growing population sustainably.

Leisha Beardmore, Nina Gora, Gillian Menzies and Andriana Ntziadima

The response to the garden was amazing. From two fantastic garden designers getting on board and devoting their time, passion and skills to making this award winning garden, to Caroline Spelman visiting the garden as the final stop before her trip to the sustainable development summit in Rio, numerous companies donating their products and of course, dozens of volunteers devoting their time to speaking with the public. All of us were brought together by a common goal - the belief that we can create a fairer future in which everyone has enough to eat.

Lorna Checketts, Nina Gora, Andy Wayro, Drew Markou, Jennie Beck, Andy Schofield

Not only was the garden important in getting the word out about the Grow campaign, helping us to talk directly to thousands of people and reach thousands more with media coverage on the BBC, but the experience was also really enjoyable. At the end of one of the days my face was aching from laughing too hard. Here is what some of the fabulous volunteers thought:

From the heaviest rain to the brilliant blasts of sunshine, campaigning at the NEC Garden Show this year was phenomenal. Not only were people in awe of the beautiful garden, but it also showed them a tangible way that sustainability can happen in practice. Never have I seen a crowd more receptive to the issues raised in the Grow campaign, or a collective so driven to create the changes in their own lives that they believed to be universally just. Having a visual example of how change can occur was proven to be an effective way of motivating onlookers to believe in and catalyse a fairer global future. - Leisha Beardmore

It was the most rewarding bit of campaigning I have ever done.  We were talking to people who were already on the wavelength of sustainability being the way forward for the planet!  I was amazed (and perhaps I shouldn't have been) by the number who were already supporters of Oxfam and who knew about the Rio Summit although not unfortunately conversant with the 'Grow' Campaign. I also came away with lots of hints for my own veggie and plant growing from the visitors.

See some of the garden on BBC iPlayer (starts at 11 minutes)

Read more about the garden

Blog post written by Nina Gora

Gender lead, Oxfam in Greece

More by Nina Gora

Nina Gora