Community Wildlife Vegetable Garden
What We Do
The Community Wildlife Vegetable Garden is a core aspect of our work. We provide educational experiences and work placements for local children and offer volunteering opportunities for people who are seeking to manage mental health issues, reduce stress or spend more time outdoors.
The garden was created from a 0.24 hectare (0.6 acres) rough piece of farmland, leased on a peppercorn rent from Green Farm. It was initially cleared by the farm’s pigs and developed with wildlife in mind; we never use chemicals on the land.
We have two part-time managers, Catherine & Shelly. Catherine looks after our volunteers, vulnerable adults and children and the wildlife while Shelly concentrates on our vegetable production. We also give an opportunity to an horticultural apprentice, currently Russell
Throughout the year our staff and volunteers help us to grow a range of produce, which we sell at a weekly pop-up shop to raise much-needed funds.
Why We Do It
An area to gain the physical and mental benefits of being outdoors and active.
A safe haven for people and wildlife
A place for relaxation, education & opportunity for all
A chance to learn where food comes from
Sell produce to help fund the garden
The Difference We Make
"After a spell volunteering in the garden, I feel revitalised from spending time in the fresh air, I make a connection with people, not to mention learning lots about gardening, farm life and wildlife.
My whole family has got involved in the garden. Our son Sam, who has special needs sometimes comes to help, and has become an expert watering the beds in the summer! Martin and Maryann designated a special area of the garden for Sam to tend to, so we prepared the whole bed together as a family and Catherine guided us in how to plant perennials and tend the bed. Our son Gabriel spent the first year of his life watching what goes on in the garden, he knows everyone there and I hope he will get involved when he is a bit bigger!
My husband, Matt, has also helped out and this summer we had the chance to volunteer all together as a family, using our different skills to help out. It truly was idyllic. Even my mum, who has dementia has got involved. I spent a whole day with her in the garden, and for the first time in her 79 years she planted some seeds! It was a lovely way to bond with her. Even with her memory difficulties she still remembers the day we had in the garden and remembers Catherine's name.
The Community Garden has become a big part of our lives. I always know whenever I go down there I'll see a friendly face, be able to get stuck in weeding, or planting seeds or bulbs or watering or whatever needs to be done, and however short or long a time I am able to help out that day it will always be valued!"
Helen Dowle: Volunteer and Community Garden User