Growing From Your Roots

Growing From Your Roots is a Garden Organic-led oral history project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Through this project we are capturing, preserving and sharing our diverse heritage of growing multicultural crops - a heritage that is in danger of being lost.

The West Midlands is a highly multicultural region, with 17% of people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups. Although we now eat food from a wide range of cultures, this cultural diversity is not generally reflected in the foods that are grown in allotments or back gardens. The knowledge about growing multicultural crops is concentrated in a few first generation immigrants and is at risk of being lost.

This project ensures that this important heritage is preserved, and the rich experience and knowledge of project participants is shared for many more to enjoy and learn from.

As part of this project we have produced an information sheet on the project (download here), a selection of resources and advice on growing exotic crops in the UK which can be downloaded here, along with fascinating recordings of participants talking about their experiences living and growing in the UK.

The map below indicates the original homelands of each of the project participants. Click on the star markers to learn more about each individual and hear first hand accounts of their growing, both during their childhood and here in the UK.

As part of the project, The Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience at Coventry University carried out two focus groups to evaluate the project outputs and outcomes. You can download the report using the link at the bottom of this page.

We gratefully acknowledge the Big Lottery Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting this project.