"Ask forgiveness rather than permission,” is Bríd Ruddy’s advice for starting a project like Belfast’s Wildflower Alley. In 2015, with neighbours and students from nearby Queen’s University, she turned the once-vandalized narrow alley behind her street into a colorful, plant-filled haven. It took four years to get the local authorities to install gates, but they didn't share her vision. So the Wildflower Alley started small. “We painted our back doors bright colors, bought a plant, brought out decorations from the house,” Ruddy says. Wildflower seeds donated by Grow Wild and compost from Queen’s University allowed the alley to blossom. "We didn’t realize it would create a green revolution in [Belfast],” says Ruddy. Across the UK, people are similarly inspired. Incredible Edible, a network of more than 150 UK community gardens, wants a ‘right to grow’ law that would oblige local authorities to keep a register of public land suitable for vegetable and fruit growing, which local groups could apply to access.

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