Rooted Chippenham was established in 2021 by Rebecca Beach and Vanessa Davey through a shared love of food and gardening, and a strong desire to improve both personal and planetary health.
Food security had been exacerbated by panic buying during the UK’s 2020 COVID-19 lockdowns. Challenges shipping food around the world demonstrated what a fragile system we have come to rely on. Our current living-cost crisis also highlights the luxury of good quality food.
Eco-anxiety is becoming more prevalent. Glasgow hosted world leaders in 2021 for COP 26 to discuss government policies for tackling climate change. Feeling powerless as individuals, we wanted to unite a community to empower local action.
Becky was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020 and bravely endured chemotherapy. Concerned that the chemicals being used in mass food production were impacting our health, she was determined to produce and educate others about organic food. Sadly, Becky passed away in October 2022, leaving behind the legacy that is Rooted Chippenham today.
The Rooted Chippenham team has since evolved with Andrew Harmer and Helen Barlow joining Vanessa as directors to officially form a not-for-profit community interest company. We were thrilled that Wiltshire Council along with Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre generously allowed Rooted to create their first community market garden on surrounding land in April 2022. Volunteers got straight to work creating no-dig beds and successfully shared a small harvest with Cousin Norman's to help with their free kids' meals scheme during Summer 2022.
We were fortunate enough to be awarded grants from Chippenham Town Council (2022) and Wessex Water (2023). These funds have enabled us to provide multiple no-dig and raised beds which are accessible to those with reduced mobility, plant fruit trees, install a 40ft polytunnel, and sow wildflower meadows. We have additional plans in place to increase our water harvesting and create a wildlife pond.
The journey so far has been a colourful and enlightening one, with many opportunities to connect with people from our local community as well as learn from other kind individuals working in well-established community gardens in surrounding towns. We look forward to welcoming you to our garden soon.