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From the Ground Up: Stories of Community Action

We have worked in collboration with Dr Caroline Wood who has kindly volunteered her time and expertise to produce a series of podcasts featuring interviews and views from CAG groups. 



1. Save the Surplus: Community Action against Food Waste

One third of all food produced globally for human consumption is wasted according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. This is at every level of the food chain, from farm to supermarket, right up to our own kitchens.

As well as the waste, food in landfill contributes to climate change because it emits methane into the atmosphere. 

In this episode, Caroline meets three projects around Oxfordshire that are turning this problem into an opportunity: Cherwell Collective's Community Larder in partnership with Oxford Food Hub, The Down to Earth Community Cafe, using surplus food to teach cooking and an oportunity to share food and finally The Replenish Oxfordshire project along with Restore the Mental Health Charity talk about the joys of composting. 


2. Barracks Lane Community Garden



In this episode, we meet members of the community that run Barracks Lane Community Garden, a beautiful green space at the heart of a vibrant community.


It is for everyone to use and enjoy by visiting, booking for a private function or by coming along to one of the many events and activities that are held throughout the year.


In particular the Garden Project:


  • Cares for the environment, the soil, plants, water and wildlife.

  • Offers everyone access to a green space for relaxation and leisure.

  • Demonstrates practical ideas for healthy living including growing food, recycling waste, cooking, building and using renewable technologies.

  • Encourages play and learning through opportunity, demonstrations and workshops.

  • Is safe and welcoming, celebrating diversity and promoting equality.

  • Is creative and innovative, a place where art meets science across generations and cultures.


It's great to hear about how the garden started and wide range of activities they offer and the versatility of the garden, reaching and engaging with the community on many different ways.


3. SHARE Oxford

Most of us have too much stuff in our lives: it clutters our homes, costs resources to make and

can eventually become waste. But in many cases, we only use these items occasionally – so do we really have to own them? What if instead we could just borrow them when we actually needed them?


SHARE Oxford is literally a ‘library of things’ with a catalogue that covers everything from DIY tools and gardening equipment, to camping gear and puzzles. The idea is to bring communities together through sharing, while reducing waste and ensuring objects are used as much as possible. In this podcast, Caroline explores how the library was set up, the benefits of borrowing over buying, and how the library adapted to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.




Dr Caroline Wood works as a communications officer for the University of Oxford, and is also a freelance science writer. She strongly believes that when communities are empowered to solve local problems, great things can happen. Inspired by the work of Oxford’s Community Action Groups, she decided to start a podcast series to spread the word about the difference these are making, with the hope this will encourage similar projects elsewhere. In her spare time, she enjoys hillwalking, painting and (very slowly) making progress with a novel.

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