Alice Willitts, On the Verge

“We just decided to look at the world around us differently. And once you put that filter on and look at the world around you with an insect’s eyes, you immediately begin to make changes to the way that you live in that space. We can all do that, we can all imagine ourselves into a different future.” – Alice Willitts

Alice is a poet, gardener, meadow-maker, soil-cultivator and advocate with On the Verge.

Alice plants for pollinators along with a small group of committed people. They transform urban infrastructure like verges, parks, schools and roundabouts to increase biodiversity and make sure pollinating insects can access nectar-rich flowers across our city. On the Verge started with a text message from a friend, Ben, who was asking if anyone else was anxious about the desperate drop in pollinators because he wanted to do something. Alice and Jo instinctively responded and together they decided to take action. Their bold vision was to plant nectar-rich meadows throughout the city and they’ve been learning every step of the way.

Some of this work is strikingly simple, like replacing the mown grass on a roundabout with a rich variety of wildflowers. Or spending a morning clearing a city verge of overgrowth to allow the seed bank that’s already there to germinate. Through small, simple actions they advocate successfully on the part of nature.

On The Verge wants anyone to have a go. They encourage people to try a 1m Meadow at home or join them for seasonal maintenance to learn what to do. More often it’s what to do less of — like less mowing for a start!  And you don’t need to be an expert to take the first step, Alice says, everyone’s a beginner at the start. The friends’ inclusive approach has enabled them to make and maintain flower meadows with schools, parents, young people, neighbourhood groups, residents and local councils.

Alice says they’re just ordinary, working people getting on with making a change in a way that gives them hope for a greener and fairer future: a future where plants, rivers, animals and insects have the same rights as corporations enjoy now.