Our Garden Evanstown
Our Garden Evanstown
Awen Cultural Trust
Community Foodie is a partnership project to help communities in the rural areas of Bridgend, the Vale of Glamorgan and Torfaen, to grow their own food.
It aims to strengthen communities by increasing the amount of produce grown and consumed locally, and at the same time, to introduce valuable skills, support a healthy lifestyle and bring people of all ages together. One of the major areas of support Community Foodie provides, is bringing landowners and local people together to find suitable growing sites. Help is also available to identify the most suitable growing model, accessing legal and technical advice and forging links with other community growing projects. Financial support is also available to get a project up and running.
‘Our Garden’ on the Dan y Bryn Estate in Evanstown, is a recreational community garden, which officially opened in the summer of 2012. “reach were invaluable in their support to us to get our community garden up and running,” says Mark Street, a local horticulturist, who was instrumental in planning and setting up the garden. “They gave us advice and guidance on the direction the garden should take and also gave us some financial support towards the purchase of compost, soil and tools. They still give us advice and support today and have become real friends to us all.”
Outcome and Impact
Our Garden was built on derelict ground that still has concrete foundations from previous homes that had been on the site but had been pulled down. “This necessitated us having raised beds,” explains Mark. “Local residents became involved in designing and building the garden and now have a real sense of ownership of it,” he adds.
‘Our Garden’ has 16 raised beds plus two beds specifically for disabled people. 23 families are involved in growing fruit, vegetables and flowers and there is a waiting list for spaces to become available. The local school has three beds of their own and pupils visit to learn about planting, different types of vegetables and fruit and the benefits of ‘growing your own.’ Kian Protheroe, aged ten has his own raised bed, which he tends to with his father’s help. “I’ve started growing radishes, potatoes, onions, lettuce, dwarf beans, peas, garlic and even sweetcorn,” says Kian. “I’m really looking forward to eating them.”
The community garden provides an opportunity for residents in the community, to get together, even if they don’t garden. Barbecues and other events are held there but local people will go there just to have a chat and meet other residents.
The garden’s reputation and its positive impact on the community has brought international visitors to view it and recently they have forged links with a world leading Roof Top Garden in Hong Kong, a community garden in the centre of Melbourne Australia and a pioneering urban community garden in Singapore.
“Our Garden has been an amazing influence. It has really brought the community together, to help and learn from one another, which wouldn’t have happened before this started.”