Awoke at around 7am, the sun shining on full beam, the last remnants of the urban dawn chorus faded out as I tugged on my roll up and cup of tea. Today, even in its earlier stages had a good feeling about it, gardening and the Sun always go together, and today we no exception. When I arrived at the Hub house I Spent a good portion of the morning potting on dozens of main crop strawberries and fruit bushes, and tending to the potato sacks and raised beds that are in the back garden of the Hub house where some of my work is based.
An afternoon of organic community building
The afternoon was about hooking up with the resident growers on Greenroyd Avenue, first call was at Tracey’s house, this tiny powerhouse of a women is by far the keenest gardener of all of our growers and when I arrived at her house she was ready to get on with the work of gardening and food growing, between three of us, we marked out the area for the her raised bed and put it together. After the raised bed was put together, we sowed hundreds of seeds and carried large pots of various fruiting plants from the Hub house to Tracey’s. Tracey’s next door neighbour Sayyid mucked in without being asked and it wasn’t long before Tracey’s garden was brimming with pots and seed trays. After we had finished at Tracey’s I spent some time with Sayyid, talking about climate and vegetable cultivation as we walked to and fro from the house with large pots of fruit bushes, strawberries and herbs. Since I last saw Sayyid he has been busy sorting his garden out, removing bricks, and other associated builders rubbish from his soil, Tracey’s partner Craig helped Siyyid in this grueling and back breaking task.
A big hello to our new growers
The greatest asset in developing communities isn’t strategies and planned methodologies, the greatest assets are actually the members of the community with whom you engage and interact with, I firmly believe this is case and it has certainly worked today, through my conversations with Sayyid he told me that he been chatting with a young family who live next door to him about gardening and food growing, so we popped next door and struck up a conversation with Rik and his partner who were sweeping the leaves from their front garden when we called. After a short burst of enthusiastic chit-chat they agreed to use a good portion of their back garden to grow fruit and vegetables in. Like Tracey, Rick and his partner are really keen to dive into gardening, and so as not to spoil the enthusiasm and interest that our conversation had generated I legged it up to the Hub house for some more large potted on strawberry plants, and some large pots containing peas, and supported by bamboo canes. I was even more astonished when I saw their back garden where they painstakingly removed around two tons of builders rubble and other crap from their soil, they had made something of a start already and this was great to see. As if getting one brand newer wasn’t enough I bumped into Jamie’s young daughter Tegan on her way home from School, she explained to me that one of her friends who just happened to live next door to her had show in interest in growing some of their own food, I spoke to Tegan’s friend who must have all of seven years old, her answer was precise, ‘my Mum said its OK for us to grow trees and food’ Work with Tegans friend will begin next week and my work with all of the growers will continue at a more interconnected and rapid pace, one of the great things about this particular group of growers is that they all live next door to each other, and because of this a great level of cooperation is occurring, as growers connect with their gardens, they are connecting with their neighbours, and for me, from a permaculture perspective this is exactly what I love see, connecting with your environment and neighbours is a solid foundation in a cheap and nasty world of old paradigm capitalism and the bloated cult of the self.