W Communications

Client: Grow2Know

West Londoner Tayshan Hayden-Smith had trials with football teams including Crystal Palace, Fulham, Newcastle, and Watford before quitting the game to take up gardening as a form of activism, transforming a patch of wasteland in the shadows of Grenfell Tower with no experience at all.

His first-hand experience had shown him that gardening was almost impenetrable for young Black men like him, as well as other underrepresented groups from diverse inner-city communities found within his W11 postcode. That’s why he set up not for profit, Grow2Know, and asked W Communications to help him take on the institutionalised world of horticulture to force inclusion and make gardening more accessible for people regardless of race, gender, age, or socioeconomic background. The partnership put equality in gardening under a spotlight, rocked the very ground beneath the establishment media’s feet, and swam against the 219-year-old tide that was the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). With a strategy of disruption over permission, W’s campaign helped the 24-year-old-footballer-cum-guerrilla-gardener steal the Chelsea Flower Show, saw him named an RHS ambassador, witnessed his ‘Hands Off Mangrove’ protest exhibition celebrated as BBC Breakfast’s 2022 feature garden, and helped reach and inspire a new generation of horticulturists.