Community Garden Project
0 comment Saturday, September 6, 2014 |
Remember when I was putting a proposal to the Council with regard to the Community Garden locally? Well it seems the idea is taking off, and there's been radio interviews and so on (which so far I've had to abstain from due to concentration issues). However I'll be interviewed by a more sympathetic reporter - I've told them to treat me like Stephen Hawking without the massive IQ: it takes me a while to form a reply, so ask questions in advance! - and so I'll be discussing the project, which is starting to gain interest among the environmental community here.
The problem is the project is up against several challenges - for one, an academy proposal which, from all reports, was never entirely brought forth to the public, but just went through very very quietly. It came as a fair bit of a surprise to the community here that the school would be sold on to the Church of England and expanded, and there's been more than a few protests as the school doesn't need more space - what it needs is quality and control over its students. It seems to be more a bid for a landgrab than of real benefit to the school or its pupils.
The second challenge is this area is based in the roughest area of the village - while not exactly East London, we have had a rise in crime; in particular some local youths who have been stealing motorcycles and mopeds, tearing about in the field with them and then - of all things - setting them alight. With the very dry weather we've had, one of the destroyed mopeds made half the field catch fire, and we could have had a very serious situation here as the field backs onto houses and the school. As the field at the moment is open to the public and yet completely unsupervised (the police have only started to put the field on somewhat irregular rounds) there's definitely a need to mind the area with regard to vandalism if the garden is indeed created, and that will require regular patrols.
The final challenge - and to my mind, actually the most difficult to combat - is the apathy of the community. This is a poor area, primarily unemployed or on benefits, such as yours truly. This has made people here rather indifferent to anything other than their cell phones and the latest on EastEnders. The local Neighbourhood Centre doesn't seem particularly interested in the project, and there's maybe only a handful of people who want to see the park stay in the community. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised - gardening won't get you on X-Factor and isn't very "cool", but I honestly think the majority of the problem has more to do with people wanting to be able to sit back and enjoy, but not actually do the work - especially if they know the project may become a target for vandalism (as a school woodland garden project was destroyed the night before the opening). The thing is, we all know who those kids are - in some cases, the parents themselves are well aware - and if we bothered to stand up to them, I doubt things would carry on for long. I've done it before, and I'll do it again if need be.
The area is so beautiful; a reminder that the country is never very far in England - one of the things I love most about the place. I'd hate to see it turned into a bunch of slapdash semis no one would move into (after all this area isn't a particularly auspicious address). I don't want my favourite elder tree to be torn out to make way a bunch of concrete block buildings, or the wild brambles to be ripped down and deprive a whole ecosystem. This is an ideal permaculture area; a way for the local community to raise its own food, to donate to the Trussel Trust, I can even get the St Mark's group involved, as well as maybe the BCTV volunteers and several community-garden development groups. We could make this happen.
I know, I know, my health is crap and I'm still trying to sort it, I've just had to give up my job because of it. I'm trying to cover myself for the summer, to try and take care of my own house, and my finances, and so on. But I can't just sit and watch this space get trashes because a few bored kids don't realise how stupid they're being or getting overdeveloped because the CoE wants a few more acres to add to its wealth. The land is our responsibility - take care of it, and it will take care of you. With the money crunch hitting the poor, this is even more important that before.