Social Enterprise Story: Organic Edible Garden

YouTube: Organic Edible Garden
Founders: Jan McIntosh and Rob Velseboer


Who is Organic Edible Garden?

Jan McIntosh and Rob VelseboerOrganic Edible Garden (OEG) has a core team of two: Jan McIntosh and Rob Velseboer.

Jan is an experienced television director and producer, who started her television career at TVNZ. There she created ‘The Palmers Garden Show’, a long-running high-rating series in prime-time. Jan is a passionate organic gardener, having developed her love for growing things from her father.

Rob taught English in Japan for many years, but with his Geography degree and horticulture in his blood, it wasn’t long before the land beckoned. Rob also runs Organic Herbs and Seedlings and has a heritage fruit tree orchard.

As part of the wider team, OEG has an awesome cameraman and sound recordist, Davian Lorson and a fantastic editor, Thomas Asche.

What problem is OEG trying to solve?

Organic Edible Garden seeks to make organic gardening accessible for everyone. Not only is growing your own produce more affordable, it is better for the environment, and it’s a great way to connect you  to the community.

To achieve real and sustainable impact, OEG focuses on helping people grow successful organic gardens by educating them on soil conditions and environmental requirements for each plant. The aim is to create an ever-growing network of committed organic gardeners who can spread the word!

“Only if we all get back to growing food in our own backyards can we make a difference to our health and strengthen communities. It’s small steps towards creating a sustainable world for future generations.”
– Rob Velseboer

The impact so far

One of the most convincing reasons to switch to organically-grown food is the environmental impact of organic farming:

  • Unlike conventional farming, organic food production does not pose any risk of soil or underground water contamination
  • Organic farming makes little or no disruption to biodiversity, providing a retreat for wildlife instead of stripping away a natural habitat
  • Organic food is usually distributed locally, which means there is much less carbon emitted by transportation than by conventional farming.

But there are other more personal impacts as well. Growing your own food saves you money, ensures you eat the most healthy food (freshly-picked trumps everything) and is a wonderful social activity whether it’s with your flatmates, family or fellow allotment gardeners. Being in green spaces / nature has also been shown to have both physical and mental health benefits.

One thing Jan McIntosh has noticed about organic gardening is that “people start behaving more communally. If they’ve got spare produce they’ll give it away to someone who can use it. The same goes with seeds and seedlings. You can see the potential. It costs nothing to give it away, and yet you’ve done so much good.”

Organic Edible Garden currently has 11,000 YouTube subscribers and just clicked over 1 million views on its YouTube videos.

The future of Organic Edible Garden

“We all used to eat organic produce out of our gardens, but as life has sped up in the last 40 years, and with supermarkets offering cheap fruit and veges, it wasn’t long before we didn’t bother to tend gardens ourselves.”
– Jan McIntosh

Jan would love to see people to growing most of their own food themselves, whether it’s in their own backyard, on their balcony or in a community garden.

She wants Organic Edible Garden to be the go-to place for learning how to achieve this.

Currently, OEG provide free weekly webisodes covering all you need to know to grow your organic produce. The next step is teaching people how to harvest, prepare, cook or preserve the food they’ve grown. OEG has already released one series of 10 webisodes with Megan May from Little Bird Organics and would like to continue making series like this with other chefs and cooks.

Learn more about Organic Edible Garden

Social Media: YouTube | Facebook