We love it when a plan comes together!
Late last year, TCV Growing Communities started discussions with the wonderful Linda Allfrey, manager of Stepping Stones Nursery run by West Sussex County Council in Fishersgate. The nursery opened their doors to our team and we hatched a plan to make better use of their wonderful but disused community garden which was a little unloved and needed some TLC.
Shortly after that, we met UK Harvest a charity who collect quality food surplus, turn them into delicious meals or redistribute it in different ways. They refill community fridges and through their NourishEd programmes go around communities giving free cookery classes to groups and individuals. Absolutely fabulous look them up!
Find out more about UK HARVEST HERE
A couple of months after those initial discussions, we launched both the cooking classes (every Wednesday) and our Community Gardening sessions (every Thursday).
On 15th January 2020, we met with the Stepping Stones parents. We listened to their ideas over a hearty breakfast of some sausages (veggie options always available) sandwiches (all donated by UK Harvest!), pastries and hot beverages. It was great to hear some of the parent’s ideas about the community garden such as ‘grow your own pizza’ and one parent helped us think of a name for our new Gardening Group… ‘Little Diggers and Big Diggers’! We talked about their hopes and fears and went away feeling encouraged by such an enthusiastic response. Now, all the preparations are under way to ‘tidy’ up the community garden to make it ‘child-friendly’ and get ready for planting in the Spring with the help of the parents and local community.
Early February, as if that wasn’t enough to put a ‘Spring’ in our step….:) Uk Harvest provided a pop up restaurant ,over lunch time, to launch a FREE family cookery course. Delicious tasty treats to tickle our taste buds were all prepared and served by the expert hands of UK Harvest team. This series of classes for the nursery families will incorporate harvesting produce from the garden (once we get it growing) such as rhubarb, strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes, salads and herbs.
Now everything is in place, we can get on with learning about food growing, gardening with a ‘seed to plate’ theme, healthy eating, cooking skills and local wildlife. We already have had some brilliant sessions which has included a ‘bird’ themed week where we identified UK Birds as part of RSPB Great British Bird Watch Weekend, growing cress caterpillars and learning about the numerous health benefits of eating cress and the caterpillars to butterfly’s life cycle. This week we are painting bird boxes to put up in the garden and sowing ‘sweet peas’ in recycled tin pots.
So, what started as a tiny seed of an idea, is now blossoming in to a wonderful orchard of possibilities…
We were all excited to develop those new community networks. They help support and connect local families, give a sense of community and reconnect with the outdoors. This is what Growing Communities is all about!
Look at for my next updates and find out more about UK Harvest Community Fridge using food surplus donations. This will be free for the local community to enjoy and help feed their families. Also see how are Community Garden is taking shape with all the fab ideas and hard work from Little Diggers and Big Diggers.
See you around! Donna
one last thing: DID YOU KNOW about the health benefits of watercress?