Why the power of food?

Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh
Photo: courtesy of Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh

Edinburgh may be world-famous for its summer festival of arts and culture, but away from the buzz something completely different but equally inspiring is taking place – a quiet food revolution. 

All across the city, community gardens are springing up with more and more people getting involved in food growing initiatives. Since its first edition in 2015, the Power of Food Festival has been shining a light on the people who are transforming the way we grow, eat and think about food.

Why focus on food?

Food is at the crossroads between a great number of complex, global and local, social and environmental issues: health, social inequalities, food poverty, climate change, North/South relations, biodiversity, water, waste, landscape, economics.

Food is universal – it is what makes us human beings. It connects us to nature and to one another – those working along the food supply chain whom we don’t know, as well as those we love and sit around the table to eat with us.

Food shapes our physical environment, both urban (eg. see Carolyn Steel’s book Hungry City) and rural.

Food is essential to life and has been at the centre of rising inequalities with increasing number of food banks and rising recognition of the malnutrition crisis (under-nourished, over-nourished, badly-nourished).

Food is central to our societal wellbeing, for better and for worse.

Why focus on community food growing?

  • It is transformational, for individuals and for communities.
  • It takes all forms, shapes and sizes – the gardens all have a different story to tell.
  • It creates strong social connections around shared positive goals and collective action.
  • It is inclusive and acts against social exclusion.
  • It creates a welcoming space that thrives on people’s generosity and their desire to share and learn.
  • It reconnects us to nature, the seasons, where food comes from.
  • It gives a sense of purpose, of place in the world, of self-regard, of personal development.
  • It is about self-reliance – ordinary people taking power in their own hands to make change happen.
  • It promotes a positive neighbourhood identity and a sense of civic pride.
  • It turns often dead spaces into beautiful, productive ones.
  • It draws on people’s creativity, energy, talents and ingenuity.
  • It promotes accessible physical activity.

Get to know the team behind the Festival


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