Isle of Wight artist Holly Maslen has started a wonderful incentive which allows people to share seeds, plant gluts, pots and seedlings to fellow gardeners and growers in a responsible way – it’s called GIVE and it has really taken off! As a veg grower myself, it’s wonderful to be able to share the joy with other like minded folk, grow your own flowers and veg and reap the rewards that growing brings you. It’s also important for mindfulness and your mental health, so why not set a scheme up where you live!
“I am based on the Isle of Wight and, on the 28th of March this year, I set up a group on Facebook (for easy accessibility) called Green Island Veg Economy Group, or G.I.V.E for short. The concept is very simple; If you have surplus fruit or veg, which you have grown yourself, then place it on a table outside your house on your driveway for others to take for free. Having started this group in the spring there have been lots of seeds and seedlings shared between people living on the Island.
In just three weeks G.I.V.E already has over 2000 members, and many people have put seeds and seedlings out for others to use. Being an island, the environment is self contained, and I would love for it to become largely self sufﬁcient too. I have a dream of baskets and boxes of fresh produce on every street around the Island, so that food is available for everyone at no cost. So far, the response has been overwhelming and it has become more than an idea or a dream, it is becoming a reality.
It wasn’t just the current pandemic situation which prompted this idea, it was something I thought of years ago, but it may not have taken off so well in more settled times. I am hoping that people will enjoy the concept of G.I.V.E so much that when we all return to work, and food is (possibly) more readily available, everyone will already have directly experienced the beneﬁt of such a system and will work hard to maintain it.
The Isle of Wight was awarded a UNESCO Biosphere Award in 2019, and I can only see that this will add to the Island’s status as a special environment on the World map.