Michael French

(Community Growing Champion)

Michael was brought up in a community house, sharing life with people from all walks of life. Always conscious of social issues, forged a career in community and youth work. Informal education was a passion and helping others navigate their life journey. Keeping an eye on social trends and movements led to an interest in local sustainability and in 2014 got involved in climate awareness. This led to production on a short film on local food and activism, through which he met Alan. Alan ran a Secret Garden and had a real vision for health in the community. Understanding that much of the food we eat is contaminated and not sustainable, Alan sought to educate people on food growing. This caught Michael’s Imagination and in early 2016 Grounded Enterprises was born. Growing a Sustainable Community became a strap-line to encompass all the Grounded activity.

Not only providing a portion of local food to the public, but raising awareness of the food system and helping up-skill local people to ‘grow their own’

Grounded Enterprises has a chemical free approach to food growing, which is hard work, but worth it. To know what is in your food and understand how it grows is priceless.

Michael learnt that vegetables can produce their own vitamins as they grow, but they can only gain minerals from those present in the soil. This has become a huge motivator in making sure the soil is healthy, using natural fertilizers such as seaweed and Volcanic Ash (Remin Rock Dust) which is transported from Scotland.) In these are all the mineral nutrient the soil needs and it is then made immediately available in veg.

The dream is to train 50 local people and set them up with their own growing spaces to contribute to our stressed out agricultural model.

Grounded Enterprises takes unused spaces and repurposes them for food growing. This includes a New Forest Green House, The Secret Garden and a patch connected to a local shopping centre. New spaces are on the horizon and plans for community composting, local bee’s and micro enterprise are underway. In 2018 Grounded Enterprises will become a Charitable Organisation, developing its impact on the Bournemouth area.

Michael Passionately states… “In the future it may not be a novelty to grow our own, but a necessity. Our food production is unsustainable and we need to regain lost skills for our children to survive and thrive. We need to rethink our consumption, economy and food system Join the movement of change and awareness that is happening all over the world. We have to think global and act local“.