Everything must grow: Inspiring community-led climate action through bringing nature closer

A new pop-up shop will give people in Manchester a chance to connect with nature in the heart of one of the UK’s busiest shopping areas. Visitors will be able to relax amongst beautiful greenery surrounded by projections of green spaces from across the city.

A calming audio backdrop will be provided by a sound installation created by sound artist and composer Jason Singh and Manchester’s spoken word collective Young Identity.

 

The new initiative is part of ‘In Our Nature’, a collaborative campaign aiming to inspire people to take positive climate action whilst also improving health and well-being. This innovative experiment seeks to understand whether community-based campaigns, particularly in disadvantaged areas, can inspire positive environmental action by bringing nature directly to people. The campaign seeks to use nature to:

Boost health and well-being

Research has shown that a two-hour ‘dose’ of nature a week has significant benefits for physical, mental health and wellbeing. In Moss Side, the ‘In Our Nature’ campaign is supporting residents to help transform neglected allotments into a space that will host NHS Green Prescribing ‘gardening for wellbeing’ sessions, with existing allotment holders sharing food growing skills.

Overcome isolation

Taking part in greening activities can tackle social isolation and build a stronger sense of community. The ‘Plot to Plate’ project, in partnership with Manchester Urban Diggers, will bring the local Kurdish community together to produce culturally appropriate crops affordably and sustainably, while serving as a testing ground for a new approach to creating growing spaces which reflect the diversity of Manchester communities.

Build resilience

Climate change will pose new challenges for people and communities, requiring different skills and knowledge.

In Our Nature will bring together six local climate action groups that will be supported to understand their potential as changemakers and realise their potential for creativity, collaboration and wellbeing.

The ‘Play and Grow’ project by Mothers Against Violence will work with young ex-offenders after their release from prison in one of the areas worst affected by gun and knife crime in Manchester. They provide opportunities for them to make a positive contributions to their local community, building green skills and spending time in nature, while receiving mentoring support.

Celebrate diversity

Growing food is an impactful action for the climate, and a powerful way to celebrate the myriad cultures living in an area. The ‘Garden of Love’ project will help local Pakistani women and residents to create a publicly accessible communal herb and fruit garden, while also delivering a range of education sessions in Urdu and Punjabi where women will learn how to grow vegetables and fruits at home on a shoestring budget.

Spark inspiration

Nature can inspire people through encouraging creativity and changing mindsets. In addition to the pop-up shop, ‘In Our Nature’ has partnered with the talented Manchester-based artist Akse P19 to create a vibrant mural celebrating local nature, and inviting local residents to come along to help grow and make the most of the space.

Increase community engagement

An interactive installation in a Moss Side Park, alongside a free plant giveaway, has successfully proved that these approaches are a great way to gather community feedback on how people would like to see their local area transformed through greater access to green space.

Reduce anti-social behaviour

The transformation of an outdoor area in North Manchester seeks to tackle anti-social behaviour. The neglected land around a school will become an outdoor classroom by revamping the ponds and natural habitats to welcome back wildlife, and planting trees as well as an organic garden maintained by a gardening class, with the food grown used in the school canteen.

Residents in Moss Side are transforming a neglected alleyway into a safe community space. The impact of the approach will be showcased to encourage others in the area to transform their own space and alleyways, building on successes from Hubbub’s Love Where You Live campaigns across the UK.

Boost active travel

The campaign is seeking to encourage people to walk and cycle for short distances by using ‘playful wildlife signage’, displayed in parks across the city. We’ll discover whether this simple nudge technique successfully changes behaviour.

Increase action on climate change

Underpinning all these activities will be research funded by the Wates Family Enterprise Trust and Tetra Pak which will seek to understand whether providing greater access to nature helps people to better understand the implications of climate change on their local community and inspires them to change their behaviours.

This independent assessment will be freely shared by Hubbub to help inform the development of similar initiatives in other locations.

Living in Manchester?

Come along to the #InOurNature immersive pop-up shop when you’re next in town. We will be taking over a shop at St. Ann’s Arcade from 9th-17th October and transform it into an oasis of nature in the heart of Manchester. Step in and tune out of your busy day-to-day lives whilst being surrounded by plants, the smells of nature and projections of green spaces from around the city. It will be open weekdays 11am-2pm & 4pm-7pm and weekends 10am-6pm. 

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