Redcatch Community Garden celebrates first year

The Shameena dancers at Redcatch Community Garden Spring Fair. L to R Amanda Brett and Alison Knight.

One year to the day it started – Redcatch Community Garden celebrated with a spring fair on Sunday (15 April).

It’s hard to believe a year ago the site was a disused croquet ground in Knowle and just a seed of an idea of a fruit farm for the community.

Initiator Knowle West gardener Steve Griffiths was just starting to plant his runner beans in the garden – which now has a team of volunteers, a container for  education courses, two polytunnels and a café.

Over 500 people came to the fair – which included food from home grown produce, children’s activities and 16 stalls from local craftspeople.

Steve says: “It’s hard to believe it was just a bare site, it seems to have worked with all the support we have had from local people – we’ve had 100 per cent support from all local residents.

“We’ve got plans to get funding and continue to sell produce all year round, with the café and a lot of things such as courses.”

Mike Cardwell who helped start the garden with Steve can also hardly believe what has been achieved in a year.

He says: “We had Crowd Funding and a few pots of money and have made bit from sales of produce but we now need more funding to keep it going.”

During the afternoon, with mixed sunshine and showers, there was also a performance from Shameena Dance Troupe which specialises in Balkan Belly dance, wood turning with Andy Harris and the chance of a rickshaw ride.

As well as sales of plants grown in the garden,  another popular stall was serving homemade ‘Teapot Cocktails’ in bone china cups.

Neia, Gemma and Paige sampling home made Teapot Cocktails. (Picture Jan Perry).

Education Co-ordinator Jan Perry was at the fair promoting new courses at the site.  There are  two starting in May – Happiness and Aspirations – which looks at what people want to achieve in their life and goal setting – and a healthy eating course – Everyday Healthy Options.

This  has been written by nutritionist Jacks Korn looking at the healthy plate and balanced diets as well as cooking from scratch and getting people to grow their own food.

Jan explains: “…We are trying to get people to tell us what they are interested in, as we want to develop a  programme with a really diverse range of courses.”

The next round of courses after May will start in August/September and the Community Garden will be working with Learning Communities at The Park from September.

With the community garden now sporting a new Wendy House – the volunteer team plans to make a children’s garden and safe area for youngsters to play.

Young visitors to the fair also had the chance to have fun with Happy Mess run by Jenny Clarke – who is now offering sessions at the garden on Wednesdays.

The afternoon saw the children enjoying playing with old coffee grounds as an alternative to sand – and a great way of recycling from the on-site Roots Cafe.

One-year-old Gabriel enjoying some messy play with old coffee grounds.

Mum Anna Willow who brought her one-year-old son Gabriel to the event said: “I come to the park a lot and pop into the garden to buy plants and veg in the summer.

“I love this place and it seems to be going from strength to strength and I hope it carries on.  Anything that is family friendly is a good idea, it’s nice to have a safe area for kids….”

For more details visit Facebook @redcatchcommunitygarden