Calling all passionate growers! Come and join us to hear about some of the exciting growing projects happening in the borough and find out how you can be involved in a new urban growing project at DY1! Tuesday 3 May between 10-12pm at DY1, Stafford Street, Dudley.
To get you excited let me tell you about some of the amazing things that people have started growing across communities in Dudley.
I am a passionate grower! I am not the greatest grower in the word but with a bit of inspiration and a lot of perspiration I changed. Inspiration, perspiration and change are so much more exciting when you get to share it with others!
Inspiration has an amazing knack of making you do something you have never done before. It sparks that little glimmer of an idea and before you know it you’re on your knees in the dirt talking to those precious little shoots that will eventually turn into awesome peas. Let me share the project that inspired me and that I love being able to share with others.
Incredible Edible ‘if you eat, you’re in!’
Todmorden is a market town in Yorkshire where people grow fruit, herbs and vegetables around the town that are for everyone to share. They also run a wide range of events that help strengthen the local community. Within the town centre there are fruit, herbs and veggies growing all around; at health centre, by the canal, at the railway station, outside the college and in front of the police station.
Incredible Edible aims to provide access to good local food for all, through working together, learning and supporting local business. All with no paid staff, no buildings, no public funding: radical community building in action. Passionate people, working together for a world where all share responsibility for the future wellbeing of our planet and ourselves.
Have a look and find out more by visiting the Incredible Edible website. I defy you to not get excited and dusting off your gardening gloves after reading their story!
I got the opportunity to work on a project called Open Hub where I helped people start and join projects in Wrens Nest & Priory. I met a group of people who were finishing a beginners gardening course at Priory Park they were looking for a space to grow and the local community centre had space that was begging to be given a new lease of life! After connecting the two together the space gradually transformed from an overgrown garden into a communal growing area. People come together once a week; they share their knowledge, ideas, tools and homemade cake! They are really welcoming and anyone can come along and get involved, in the school holidays families are invited to plant bulbs, make seed balls and insect homes.
What I really loved was that people had come together because of their love for growing, but what also grew were friendships, support and togetherness. People involved explained that growing together was less about expertise and skills but more about enthusiasm and interest! A bit of gardening knowledge helps but what is more important is willingness to help and a desire to learn.
Over 35 people got involved in the first year and they grew the most enormous carrots I had ever seen and joined forces with a baking project and learned to make their own Damson Jam!
I also work in East Coseley which is a Big Local area. Residents said that they wanted to get involved and make their community spaces more vibrant and welcoming. They also had a love of growing and have one of the most amazing groups of passionate growers at Bayer Street Allotments. People came together and decided to plant bulbs in local parks and a green space close to the local shopping centre. Bulbs were donated by residents, businesses, local councillors and Big Local and people brought along tools and gloves to share! Because some of the land we were planting on was owned by the local authority we needed to get their permission. I worked with the local authority to ensure that all the risk assessments, underground cable searches and insurances were in place to keep people and spaces safe. We had an amazing two days, working hard, planting 1000’s of bulbs and bringing people together who had never met each other before. People walking past were interested by the flurry of activity and fun, they asked what we were doing and we invited them to get involved. Two ladies with toddlers got involved and then came back the next day with more of the family, a toy dumper truck to help with the digging and a dog!
What has been really amazing is the interest and feedback we have received from people. They have posted on social media sharing how lovely it is to see Coseley in bloom and one lady who brought her grandchildren shared a photo of them standing proud as punch with bulbs they had planted in flower!
What being involved in these projects has shown me is you do not need masses of people or experts telling you how to do things to make really change happen. You need passion and enthusiasm, people who get stuck in and have a go, people who like to share, their ideas, tools, knowledge and cake! You need a space to be able to use that brings people together and that is accessible and welcoming and you need an offer!
Here is my offer…
Dudley CVS has space at DY1 which is a town centre community venue that would be perfect for urban growing. How would you like to join us and be inspired, work hard and perspire and help us change unloved space into an urban community garden that grows herds, veggies and flowers?
Come along on Tuesday 3 May between 10-12pm at DY1, Stafford Street, Dudley to find out more about the growing projects in Wrens Nest and Coseley and to see how you can start and be involved in Incredible Edible Dudley, DY1’s Urban Garden project.