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Growing your own

by Michael Ford last modified 24 Jul, 2020 04:54 PM

A number of our parishes are not only growing in numbers and depth, but are growing their own produce, too.

Growing your own

Courtesy bh15growtogether on Facebook

The Revd Paul Bradbury, Pioneer Minister for Poole Missional Communities, was recently interviewed by BBC Radio Solent's Steve Harris for the Dorset Breakfast programme.

Steve Harris interviewed Paul and other residents involved in a project in Poole which, in Steve's words, took over "a ragged patch of grass going to rack and ruin" and turned it into a community garden.

The interview starts 20 minutes into the programme, here.

Paul explained that lockdown had become the latest stage of building community - as he, his wife Emily and others had been doing for years already - and they didn't want to lose what they had gained as buildings started to unlock again. Lots of people were helping each other, a WhatsApp group was proving effective, and one day Paul said:

"How about we grow some vegetables on that little plot of land over there?"

There was immediate agreement among those who were there, and so it became a matter of making it happen.

The team worked with the local Council to ensure that any underground water pipes and cables would remain undisturbed - and amazingly, there were none to avoid.

The land itself was owned by Poole Housing Partnership (PHP), who were also very helpful, and Paul says:

"We've got a little charity and we were able to put in some public liability insurance and do a risk assessment, and we put that in front of PHP, and they said okay."

By the beginning of this month (July 2020), the team had started work by building a couple of rose beds.

Paul admitted:

"It's a bit late in the season, so whilst we were waiting, I kept saying to people, 'Look, just keep growing stuff in pots, and hopefully we'll be able to get something stuck in the ground.

"Mainly tomatoes, we've got some runner beans, some French beans, and at the front, and whole bunch of herbs, which we can just leave in there.

"The invitation is that people can just walk past and pick a few herbs.

"It's not just for those people who are working on it, but this is something for the whole community - so if you wanted to go and just pick a bit of parsley on your way past, you could do."

Steve asked what the response had been like, and Paul said:

"We live literally opposite the plot, and the other day we were doing something - the window was open and I was just listening to people as they stopped and just looked at it - and most people stopped. There's a sign there now with a Facebook page address, and a lot of people say, 'Oh, what a great idea', and 'How fantastic, why don't we do something like that?'

"One really interesting spinoff is that there's a chap who lives nearby, who isn't able to garden. He's got some significant disabilities, but he can garden on a raised bed, so he's asked if we'll make him a little raised bed. And so we've got a little bit of material left over from the garden that we made, and we're hoping to do that for him.

"So that's somebody who's come past the garden, and it's inspired him enough to ask for that help."

The full interview starts 20 minutes 4 seconds into the programme, here.

Visit bh15growtogether on Facebook, here.

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