If I go on about the weather a lot in these posts it is because I am a gardener, and the weather plays an important role in determining how much work I can do on a given day, and just as Bankers rely on low pay and consumerism to keep people in debt, for me good weather means that i can help people to generate usable resources for what amounts to pennies, so back to the weather- I chose today as my work day in Breightmet because the Met office predicted that it would be sunny all day long, of course it hasn’t been sunny all day long, but hey who is complaining? We have had a good three hours of sunshine today and it has helped my work no end. Work this morning and into the afternoon consisted of replanting the Yarden at the UCAN centre where my work is based. For those who are unfamiliar with the word ‘Yarden’ it is a back yard that is being used as a garden.
In the Yarden
I cleared all of the spent plants from last year and planted seeds, strawberries and herbs in the raised beds, the Yarden itself is multifunctional, it serves as a great propaganda tool to catch local residents and hopefully inspire them to grow some of their own produce at home. we put a small event on in the Yarden last summer and gave away well over a hundred plug plants and pots containing compost and seeds, this occurred mainly because people were sat out doors on a sunny day surrounded by things that were growing all around them. Another function that the Yarden will serve this year aside from its function of propaganda tool is that it will provide staff and users at the centre with some freshly grown produce that they are able to access at lunch time, imagine that, learning over from the very table where you are going to eat your lunch and casually picking a handful of salad leaves and fresh beans, it doesn’t get more local than that!
After fully sowing and planting out the first wave of seeds and plants in the Yarden it was onto the business of planting fruit trees in the front gardens of our growers, the first two that I planted are in close proximity to each other, literally across a small road in an Avenue, so it made good gardening sense to plant fruit that will help pollinate each other. Once again this is multifunctional on many levels, it will provide households with fruit for years to come, will help local flora and fauna to thrive, the trees will also lock in carbon. I have also arranged to introduce the two residents to each other next week to discuss the pollination of the fruit trees that they both have, so there is potential here for the two residents to get to know each other. One of the great things about urban food growing is its capacity as a tool and a catalyst for fragmented communities to get to know each other.