In France, there is an exciting group of fresh, local food advocates – The Masked Gardeners! These amazing, dedicated volunteers spend their time turning neglected and under-utilized public spaces into gardens that grow food. They are helping to tackle the growing socio-economic problem of accessibility and affordability of food facing more and more people. Initially started after the COVID-19 epidemic swept across the globe, this group makes it their goal to provide a healthy variety of fruits and vegetables to the city residents that would ordinarily be purchasing this food from the markets.
The aspect that makes this group truly unique is the fact that in much of the locations the garden, it is technically illegal, and thus an act of resistance! The Masked Gardener’s ultimate goal is to inspire the citizens and their lawmakers to use tax dollars to help fund the installation of edible gardens throughout the cities of France, especially to support those in desperate need of fresh food. It also gives park visitors the chance to interact with their friends and neighbors, helping to create an in-person social network in a day-and-age where many desperately seek to escape the world of screens. Additionally, it offers valuable lessons to the children to learn about where their food comes from and the importance of growing our own food.