UK cities get ready for Big Dig Day - Saturday 16 April

50 edible gardens across Birmingham, London and Manchester are inviting people new to ‘growing their own’ to get involved in the fifth annual Big Dig Day on Saturday 16 April, during National Gardening Week. 

The day will give novice growers a chance to learn about growing food and help the gardens out with spring tasks, such as planting potatoes, preparing raised beds and sowing seeds and flowers that encourage wildlife.

The Big Dig Day is run by Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming and this year takes place in London and Birmingham, as well as Manchester, and has seen 8,000 volunteers across the UK lend a hand to community food growing.  The initiative also helps groups to record their harvest to see the value of their produce through the Harvest-ometer an innovative online tool”.

The edible gardens involved are found on roofs, in parks and tucked away in hidden corners where they grow food and provide much needed greenery for the city.  This day is important in helping local people discover them. 

We want the Big Dig network to be a one stop shop for people interested in growing food.  People can find a garden, get involved and see the range of things going on across their city. And for the gardens there are opportunities to promote their gardens, record their harvest and see how much money they are saving! The Big Dig Day kicks off the year with a chance to get your hands dirty” explained Sarah Williams from Sustain.

One group taking part in the day is Moss Side Community Allotment, who will be given a tour of the garden plus seed-sowing and potato-planting.  Phil Dodd, who is part of the group explains:

“We are a group of people who work together with the purpose of growing organic produce and expanding our knowledge of growing food. What we grow and what we learn we share. We always need volunteers of all sorts, and it's really nice to get involved and feel that you're doing something useful.”  

The Big Dig in Manchester is run by Sow the City, in London by Sustain network – Capital Growth and in Birmingham through independent group Growing Birmingham.

To find a garden in your area, or to register your garden to take part in the day, visit our interactive map at



For national information please contact Sarah Williams 0203 5596 777 or or go to  #bigdig2016

Interviews with volunteers and garden leaders are available on request. Photos available on request or see previous year’s activities here.


Editorial Notes

  1. The Big Dig is a nationwide project, now in its fifth year and aims to support and promote community gardens and is run by national food charity Sustain.
  2. Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity. Sustain represents around 100 national public interest organisations working at international, national, regional and local level.
  3. Sow the City are a Manchester-based social enterprise working to build a healthier city where everyone can grow their own food. Somewhere that’s full of beans. The kind of city you want to live in.
  4. This year the Big Dig day is taking place in London, Birmingham as well as Manchester.
  5. Follow The Big Dig on twitter @thebigdiguk #bigdig2016 or visit our website