In a city which knows a bit about festivals, it’s only appropriate that there’s one which celebrates community food growing.
After two successful seasons, the Power of Food Festival in Edinburgh returns for 2017 to raise further awareness of the environmental, social, and health benefits of community food gardens.
Around 26 gardens have participated over the last two events and more than 1,500 people have enjoyed the workshops and events offered by musicians, storytellers and dancers in the various gardens across the city.
The not-for-profit festival will run from June 17-18 in Edinburgh, offering a wide range of activities for those who fancy a visit to a community garden.
Marie-Amélie Viatte, the Power of Food festival founder, said: “The festival was set up a couple of years ago to inspire more people to join in the movement of community food growing and also to have conversations with all sorts of people about food choices and how we produce our food and what that means for people and the environment.
“It is organised entirely by volunteers with no money attached to it. We do raise a very small amount of budget through our membership, which is £1 a year. But we haven’t got any external funding in terms of grants because that is not really the spirit of the festival…it is very much about tapping about what we have to give, rather than turning to money to buy things that we might want.
“And it has been really wonderful to see how far you can go without money and indeed, a lot of the gardens themselves run with a very small budget because actually the value is people and what people have got to offer.”
Marie-Amélie had the idea in autumn 2014, when she was doing a course on social enterprises. She has a professional background in environmental and social issues and has always been keen on knowing more about food, environment and social problems. So her interest in community gardens was sparked and the festival was a way to showcase their great work.
She said: “There is something quite profound in community food growing which is really powerful. People come together without waiting on someone else to deliver things to them in a passive kind of way, and they decide to make a change in their local community for themselves and it is a very positive change.
“So, through community food growing, people break down barriers about social isolation. They develop a sense of civic pride, connect with nature and become more active, which is very beneficial for their health. People learn from one and another and it is a great way to do a skill and to create social connection.
“It is a very inclusive space and it doesn’t require people to be gardeners, everyone can be involved because there are lots of jobs to do and everybody is welcome, diversity is very important.”
Marie-Amélie recognises the hard work that everyone does to organise and make the festival possible.
She said: “These kind of events can never happen with just one person. It is very important to recognise the team and all the job and the commitment they do. We have to celebrate people who are willing to drive things like this and want the festival make it happen by putting a lot of time and doing it for free.”
The registration period is now open for all community gardens who want to participate in this year’s festival, as well as everyone who wants to help by offering their time, skills and passion to run a workshop or an event in the gardens.
Watch the video about last year’s event
For more information about 2017, visit Power of Food Festival