“All over Edinburgh, something amazing is happening. On unassuming street corners, lettuces spring from the earth. Neglected development lots are alive with kale and leeks, while baby carrots emerge sleepily from their beds – nestled in behind the local library.
“Marie-Amélie Viatte noticed this flourishing, largely unknown world of community food-growing in 2014, and felt that something so exciting should be recognised and celebrated. The seed of an idea was planted, and in summer 2015, with the help of a team of volunteers, the first Power of Food Festival was held in Edinburgh. Over the course of a weekend, 15 community food-growing gardens opened their gates to the public, and over 500 people came along to see what was happening. Strangers and neighbours alike sat down to share meals, to listen to live music and to learn about the initiatives being nurtured across the city.
“At the heart of the Festival is the idea that money doesn’t have to be king, and that a lot can happen with the good will and hard work of people caring for their community. After all, this is how many of the gardens have come to be the productive, fruitful havens they now are in their neighbourhoods. To this end, the Festival is entirely free to the public, and any food served is either free or served on a pay-as-you-feel basis.
“This year, on the summer solstice weekend (18-19 June), the Festival is returning for a second year. 16 gardens will be welcoming the public in, from Newhaven to Merchiston, Granton to Tollcross, and everywhere in between. Each garden is unique, with its own origin story – the Festival will be held in a Victorian pleasure garden, in hospital grounds, in a patch of land between two rows of houses and within the walls of a grand estate, to name just a few locations. Some gardens are selling their produce in local shops, and some gardens are feeding their communities by encouraging people to help themselves to fruits and vegetables. This diversity is part of what the Power of Food Festival team want to celebrate – no garden is the same, but all are the product of commitment, hard work and co-operation.
“In the spirit of the Festival, dozens of musicians, community activists and entertainers have come forward to donate their time and talent. The programme includes two group bike rides, which will tour the participating gardens, willow-weaving workshops, a 23-person-strong wind band and a West African dance and drumming group (among many other events). Organisations such as Love Food Hate Waste, Edinburgh Food Social and The Food Assembly will also be coming along to share what they’ve been up to.
“A weekend-long party held across 16 locations, with next to no budget, is no mean feat. It’s fitting that a festival celebrating the power of people working together has been made possible by the co-operation of a small but committed green-fingered community.
The full programme is available here: