Today’s Bristol Bites Back Better blog is from Hattie Rowan from One Planet Matters (OPM). Since 2020, the social enterprise has been building a network to help growing groups across the country. They now work with over 35 projects, including in Pucklechurch, Yate, Emersons Green and Blackhorse Primary School. In this blog, we hear more about one of their largest projects in Bristol at Sea Mills Primary School (pictured above), and how you can get involved with OPM as an individual, organisation or school.
It’s been almost a month since COP26 and – whether the summit inspired hope or fear in you and your community – there is a general sense of overwhelmedness as individuals struggle to understand how to tackle the climate and ecological crisis.
Fortunately, there has been a resurgence of individuals and organisations pledging to do more and do better – and we don’t need everyone to change the world. According to research, it takes just 25% of the population to effect real change – that’s just one in four people!
At One Planet Matters (OPM), we are working to reach that 25% in Bristol and beyond. We are a social enterprise that mobilises communities to act together – equipping them with the tools, resources and knowledge they need to create meaningful change. Since 2020, we have been building a Growing Communities Network, helping growing groups across the country to plant more, grow more – eat more! (Fresh fruit and veg, anyone?) We now work with over 35 projects, including in Pucklechurch, Yate, Emersons Green and Blackhorse Primary School.
One of our largest projects in Bristol is at Sea Mills Primary School, where we are helping to develop a growing area and mini-orchard with the students and teachers. Not only will this teach the students about growing food but also increase their appreciation and understanding of nature, creating more environmentally conscientious citizens. The orchard is doing well, and we are currently working on a new planting plan to improve the biodiversity of the area by companion planting and use of pollinators. Another expanding project in Bristol is OPM’s work with Frenchay Residents’ Association who OPM are supporting in creating a community growing area and orchard on Frenchay Common.
Why is all this growing so important? Well, at COP26 world leaders pledged to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation – and OPM is already doing that. In January we are set to plant 200 trees including Blenheim, apple and orange trees, downy birch and many, many more. All this takes us closer to a safer planet.
How we grow and where we get our food is also going to be a huge part of confronting the climate crisis. Not only does OPM seek to ensure more communities have access to fresh, sustainable produce, we also give individuals the chance to engage with nature. Spending time outside, eating fresh produce and gardening have all been found to improve mental and physical wellbeing – and OPM allows people the chance to do all three!
This is all just the beginning of our journey but we are already branching into other areas such as developing workshops for schools and growing our OPM Changemakers group – a place for individuals in Bristol and across the country to learn and share ideas about combating climate change, and build each other up so we can #actnow to save the planet.
So, how can you be part of the world changing 25%? There are many ways to get involved with OPM as an individual, organisation or school. You could be a volunteer at one of our projects, sign up your school to our eLearning programme, get help with a growing group you already run or start a group from scratch. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get started.
You can also donate to our Crowdfunder which will help us plant more trees, educate more students and mobilise more communities. All donations are doubled thanks to Aviva Community Fund.
By setting the wheels in motion now, together we can transform the future of food in our city, building in resilience over the next decade. So, what change do you want to see happen that will transform food in Bristol by 2030? Do you already have an idea for how Bristol can make this happen? Join the conversation now.