“Odd as I am sure it will appear to some, I can think of no better form of personal involvement in the cure of the environment than that of gardening. A person who is growing a garden, if he is growing it organically, is improving a piece of the world. He is producing something to eat, which makes him somewhat independent of the grocery business, but he is also enlarging, for himself, the meaning of food and the pleasure of eating.”
― Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays
The end of the summer and the beginning of autumn is a time for harvesting the efforts of the year in growing terms. The Edible Open Gardens Day in London organised by Capital Growth, on again last weekend, shows just how popular community gardening has become, particularly for growing things to eat. The Edible Open Gardens Day was this time part of The Big Dig’s work to encourage more people to volunteer funded by the Cabinet Office’s Social Action Fund and co-ordinated by Sustain:the alliance for better food and farming. London was one of six UK locations taking part – the others being Brighton, Coventry, Greater Manchester, Middlesbrough and Sheffield.
Other growing initiatives this year have included the Chelsea Fringe events in London during the Chelsea Flower Show, which included a trail around Islington.
Many allotments and community gardens now take part in the London Open Squares weekend and open in London and all around the UK as part of the Yellow Book Scheme.
I thought I would also look back on some other ingenious sights I have seen over the summer in London, where people are growing in small spaces, finishing with more views of the wonderful Queen Elizabeth Hall community roof garden, now in its second year.
“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”
― Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture