The Green Island Veg Economy

Isle of Wight Needles © Linda Priestley

G.I.V.E is a group dedicated to the sharing of all things which can be grown at home or on your allotment. I hope that hundreds, if not thousands of you here on the IOW will join G.I.V.E and create a more sustainable economy.

On the 28th of March this year, I set up a group on Facebook called Green Island Veg Economy Group, (G.I.V.E for short) on the Isle of Wight. The concept is very simple; If you have surplus fruit or veg, which you have grown yourself, place it on a table outside your house on your driveway for others to take for free. Because it's spring time, people have also been sharing lots of seeds and seedlings with one another.

My background is in art and, after setting up and running Art Galleries from disused and abandoned buildings here on the Island, I found the art world to be less than satisfying, so in 2018/19 I undertook a large project to combine art with something more meaningful. I collected plastic rubbish from the beaches around the Island, culminating in an exhibition (called Pick Up The Pieces) which displayed my findings, along with documentation on what I had found.

Green Island Veg Economy logo

GIVE © Holly Maslen

G.I.V.E is a follow on from my background in art and wanting to work more closely with the environment in the sense that the idea of beautiful stalls dotted around the Island would not only be visually appealing, but also good for the environment, reducing plastic waste by not purchasing veg from supermarkets, and most of the produce is organic too.

Within four weeks G.I.V.E's Facebook group had over 3000 members - and it's still growing. 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.

Join Facebook Group

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. I hope, too, that people on the mainland, in Hampshire, and elsewhere in the U.K will be inspired by G.I.V.E and set up similar initiatives in their own communities.

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.

Holly Maslen

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