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Opening of the Moveable Feast Community Garden in Western Road, St Leonards

Cultivating community

HOT journalist, Zelly Restorick attended the launch of Moveable Feast, the community garden on Western Road, St Leonards and was amazed at the transformation from rocks and rubble to revival and regeneration.

The idea emerged from a Wonky WI meeting, where groups formed with different interests.  Those keen on gardening spotted a funding opportunity from the National Women’s Institute for a community garden and an application was submitted. A site on Western Road was found – derelict, covered in rubble, debris and buddleia – but the horticultural visionaries saw the potential.

In April, Roost Property Development agreed to the ground being developed as a garden, on the understanding it was a temporary arrangement.  Hence the name ‘Moveable Feast’; everything can be transported to another piece of ground if necessary.

Planning permission was sought and granted for two years – and the enthusiastic team began seeking sponsors and donations of tools, plants, bull-dozers, wood chippings and a whole spectrum of all things necessary for cultivation.  The local community responded with huge generosity and this, in addition to the grant received from the WI, allowed the work to progress.

In May, clearance of the site began and in mid June, the first official Moveable Feast Work Day took place, involving WI women plus a few willing honourary men and children.  This work then continued full-on until the opening day, completely transforming the plot from dereliction and decay to delightful and delicious.

Herbs, miniature fruit trees, flowers and a full spectrum of assorted vegetables now fill the area.  Ingenious, innovative planting means that every container is moveable and transportable, should the ground be needed for property development in the future.

The launch last Friday was a genuine community event attended by people of every variety and age.  Pimms was served and trays of strawberries, homemade lavender biscuits, chocolate and almond cookies, vegetable pakoras and other delicious offerings were circulated amongst the crowd.  People chatted and smiled, children played and danced amongst the trees and an atmosphere of pleasant enjoyment and contentment pervaded the entire evening.

The remaining land will be seeded with a wild flower meadow to encourage the birds and insects needed for a healthy cultivation and eco-system.

A plastic bottle greenhouse is planned.  Anyone, especially young people, interested in being involved in this project would be very welcome.  Bottles need to be collected, cleaned, de-labelled and cut down to size – and then the building of a recycled, environmentally friendly greenhouse can begin.

A donated shed fell prey to the high winds and was destroyed.  Anyone interested in donating towards a new one or helping construct it, please connect with the team.

Disabled access is a priority with plans to provide a geo-grid floor to make the area wheelchair friendly.  Anyone inspired to donate towards this would be very welcome too.

A volunteer team of regular, trusted and committed gardeners is being developed, so if you’re interested in being actively involved or can help in any way, please text Moveable Feast on 07729 629916.

Read Moveable Gardens’s blog here.

Posted 10:15 Monday, Jul 9, 2012 In: Green Times

Also in: Green Times

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