Volunteer for Grow for Talgarth
In March 2018 we adopted an unused piece of land to develop a ‘Pick Your Own’ area by the riverside and on one of the main entrances into the town. We decided to use boxes as the land needed a good deal of work and fertilisation before it could be planted in. We were lucky enough to be awarded a bursary to purchase three large and one small planter. Most of the plants were grown by the community or donated at our plant ‘Give-Away’ morning where local residents brought excess plants and seedlings from their gardens.
We grow a number of fruits and vegetables including strawberries, salad leaves, courgettes, beans and a few herbs and the plot is tended to by the Grow for Talgarth team of volunteers.
A large ‘PICK YOUR OWN’ sign which stated ‘grown for the community by the community’ has been erected by the planters and we also advertise the fact that residence can pick their own on our Facebook page. We had many pictures and comments of appreciation posted last year and one resident even posted a picture of the dinner they made from courgettes they had picked! The cost of the produce was subsumed in our fundraising efforts and we wanted the produce to be a free resource for the community.
We also started a produce table on Saturday mornings outside The Mill in the town square. We would pick any ripe produce from the boxes for the table. Well this became our biggest success as after the first week we also had produce donated from the Mill Gardens that had been grown by volunteers. From then on, residence would also donate excess produce from their own gardens to the table.
This meant that we had fresh seasonal produce to be able to offer to local people. We had no plans to make any charge, but people were very happy to make a donation and over the months we raised £60.
Our plans for 2019
We are going to create a community herb box to be placed in the centre of town. This decision has been fuelled from local feedback as they told us often they would like to be able just to pick a few sprigs of e.g. mint, rosemary, oregano, sage etc. as these are not always available in our small local shops and if they are, they would have to buy a whole packet. Also, we have local residents already growing a variety of different produce for our produce table this year.
Want to try something similar in your town?
Many people plant a packet of seeds e.g. tomatoes, beans etc. and do not want all the young seedlings. Have a plant swop or a give -away morning/afternoon. We have done this for the last couple of years and now people are queueing up.
Our produce table has been very successful and has created real community spirit and collaboration and also a social event on a Saturday morning as many locals linger for a chat together.
Published in the Sunday Mirror
Quite often community gardens are built upon a culture of sustainable and economical living, so they like to get creative with how they source things they need. That’s what Cultivation Street is all about and we love hearing the wide range of weird and wonderful solutions our communities come up with in order to keep costs down, whilst promoting a sense of community spirit!
The residents of Talgarth in Wales wanted a project that would not only create a focal point for their town, but also give residents access to fresh fruit and vegetables. After receiving a grant in 2018, they erected 3 large planters on a small unused piece of council land. The volunteers then began to dream up low-cost ways to supply vegetable plants for the plot, like a ‘Plant Giveaway’ morning where local residents donated excess vegetables they had grown themselves—this successful initiative led to most of their initial plants being provided for free.
The sharing ethos quickly became a part of the garden’s charm, enabling them to transform the empty space into a ‘Pick Your Own’ garden. A group of volunteers will lovingly tend to the donated plants to produce a range of seasonal vegetables. These are then available for the community to simply pick themselves as they pass by—all completely free of charge.
Rosie Williams, one of their members, shares her experience of how such interaction can benefit the community, “Many people plant a packet of tomato or bean seeds and do not want all the young seedlings. Instead of wasting them, we’ve had a plant swap over the last couple of years and now people are queueing up to donate or exchange excess seeds or plants.”
To read more inspiring stories like this, or to find out more about community gardening and how to get involved, head over to cultivationstreet.com
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