Updated June 17th 2020

During the challenging times that we are experiencing, many of us are finding the time to grow more food ourselves than we have for a long time, and many people will be learning from scratch just how valuable and satisfying it is to be able to do this. What a frightening thought it is that without supplies of food from the supermarkets, a significant proportion of the population would be totally stuck in gardens laid down to lawn or decking, with drives now completely paved. No room for food or wildlife!

It isn’t necessary to live in the countryside or even to have a spacious garden in the town or city to be able to grow your own – window boxes, window sills even, roof gardens and pots on patios can be very productive!

Can you help show how it can be done please? We would like to collect as many photos as possible in our Flickr album of different growing enterprises, whether they be allotments, smallholdings with goats and chickens, tiny patches in the lawn or a conservatory growing herbs and bean sprouts…

Send in your photos ( [email protected] ) with a brief explanation and we will load them into the Growing to Survive YouCan! Flickr album. Check out the album yourself on this link!


A very productive 4m x 4.5m plot in north Dorset. Click to enlarge.


A highly organised Community Garden in  Suffolk. Click to enlarge.


Not much space in the garden but plenty of seedlings coming on!

Background to EuCAN  EuCAN originated in 2007 as a scheme to take volunteers to different corners of Europe to carry out habitat management work alongside our European partners. These visits were generously funded by the EU Lifelong Learning Programme but the grants have come to an end. However, we are still keen to maintain our contacts in Europe and are able to arrange a number of study tours and placements each year (though sadly these are no longer free!).

Have a look at our Flickr site to get an idea of the range of activities we have been involved with!

Cerne Valley group lunch break with bacon butties November 2017

Cerne Valley group lunch break with bacon butties November 2017

Through the year: habitat management contracts in Dorset and Somerset – we are looking for volunteers, trainees and sub-contractors. Summer is generally a quieter time for contracts but there are opportunities throughout the year to get involved in scrub cutting, haymaking, hedgelaying, dry-stone walling, Himalayan Balsam removal, ragwort pulling and cutting, and ongoing habitat management work for Butterfly Conservation, Natural England and other landowners. Click here for more info.


strimming Himalayan Balsam on the slopes of the Beaminster Tunnel

Our regular Volunteer groups are always on the look-out for new members - join in, it’s great fun, costs nothing and you will learn new skills, visit lovely places, get healthy exercise and fresh air – and at the same time contribute to the improvement of some of our best wildlife habitats.

The EuCAN Mid-week Volunteers meet every Wednesday for a variety of different tasks, mainly in south Dorset. Minibus transport is provided from Weymouth and Dorchester.Contact the group leader, Dave Searle, via this link to our website:  http://www.eucan.org.uk/uk/dorset/dorset-mid-week-group/


The EuCAN Somerset Volunteers generally meet every Tuesday .Based in south Somerset, the group carries out tasks on a great range of sites in Somerset and north and west Dorset. http://www.eucan.org.uk/uk/somerset/somerset-eucan-volunteers/ . In addition to practical work, we also have a programme of walks and visits planned for the summer.

Lankham chalkpit 6.12.16 1

The Milverton Conservation Volunteers meet monthly and are based in the west Somerset area. See  http://www.eucan.org.uk/uk/somerset/milverton-local-volunteers/


Cerne Valley Community Landscape Project  This project is now in its eighth year, and are always on the look out for more volunteers.


Cerne Valley Community Landscape Project volunteers working at Yelcombe, Cerne Abbas.


We created a glade in the woods at Nether Cerne to improve the habitat for the Duke of Burgundy butterfly