Whether an urban neighbourhood, a rural village or a remote island, the community is the basic building block of change and development. Whether an apparently homogenous community or a diverse group of people, each community will share common elements but also house a diversity of skills, ideas and aspirations. Harnessing these development drivers and unlocking the creativity of the community can bring about huge opportunities. Creative partnership processes can generate new community business opportunities, but also improve public sector service delivery and new business opportunities for existing businesses. Working with communities to improve their local area and address local issues invariably involves environmental improvements and opens to broader engagement on sustainability issues.
Hardeberga is a small rural village on the edge of Lund in southern Sweden. The village is home to Lunds Waldorf School which has long been a pioneer in improving the standard of school meals. Mobilising money through the EUs Leader programme, the school took the lead in the development of a rural development project building around food in the first phase, but developing to become a broader eco-tourism initiative. The school joined forces with a retiring organic grower and a new started business spawned from the guerrilla gardening movement.
The school has now turned over a large proportion of its land to growing organic vegetables for the school kitchen and is self-sufficient in many products throughout the growing season and late autumn. The kitchen garden is an educational resource and also functions as a community supported agriculture initiative with parents and locals exchanging their labour for a share in the harvest.