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My Food Community alumni celebrate connecting through growing at the Oxford Real Farming Conference

my food community Over the past four years, 145,310 people participated in Food for Life’s Get Togethers programme – funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.

This was achieved through small grants, the My Food Community leadership development programme, mass mobilisation campaigns Plant and Share and Cook and Share, and a series of Network Events. 

Over four years, My Food Community empowered 114 food leaders over 138 training hours and over £180,000 has been distributed in small grants. Two of those food leaders include Carol Adams and Eric Ngang, who appeared on the Growing and Sharing Without Borders panel at last week’s Oxford Real Farming Conference and who met at a My Food Community networking event.

Eric Ngang, who volunteers at Kushinga Community Gardens, shared:

“It has been an awesome experience to connect with someone with the same process and thoughts in their head. We actually connected over food – the food we made for the event we both attended - and Carol commented that she recognised the dishes and that was it, connection made. My Food Community has helped me build my confidence in what I was doing in Birmingham – these exchanges are possible, this platform created that opportunity. It makes a difference.”

90% of participants in flagship campaigns Plant and Share and Cook and Share reported feeling more connected after taking part in an event, with over 45,000 people attending 1,494 Plant and Share events in 2023. 

When people come together over good food, big changes can happen.

Mat Jones, Professor of Public Health and Community Development at UWE says:

“There’s an image that holding community events are just about sharing some cake or soup – a perception that they’re nice but not very important activities. But our research found that community members are often highly skilled in using food-based activities to bridge social divides and involve very diverse groups of people.” 

Plant and Share, a mass-mobilisation campaign which brings the nation together through growing good food with the help of bespoke resources, returns this spring from 1st – 30th April. The campaign will see thousands across the UK learning new skills, making new connections and enjoying getting closer to nature. You can get a head-start on growing with the Plant and Share Growing Chillies resource, with more to come in the following weeks.

To find out more about what growing, cooking and sharing together means to people, watch a short film summing up the impact across Food for Life’s community campaigns and activities.

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