Lying at the façade of St Mark’s Victorian school building is a redundant playground. Our proposal is to reinvigorate this space, to create an educational, restorative well-being garden for the school and the local residents. Enabling our community to share skills, ideas and experiences as well as forging friendships and establishing a strong community ethos.
Our vision of this garden is to incorporate an edible garden equipped with a greenhouse, for pupils to grow vegetables and flowers from seed and facilities to assist in maintaining the garden; an outdoor sink, work bench and storage. We will also have a space to keep chickens.
Ultimately the garden will encompass this external space in a protective 'wall' of planting that will help mitigate the damaging pollutants from road and air traffic. Planting and structures providing a screen from the sun, attracting pollinators and creating a calming oasis of color and scent, in which to stroll and sit together.
What we'll deliver:
- installing corten steel raised borders and planters, in the garden
- resurfacing existing tarmac surface
- installing timber seating in the garden
- install bespoke corten steel arches
- fill borders and planters with appropriate soil/compost mix, adding drainage material
- plant borders and planters with a tree shrubs and herbaceous plants according to designed planting plan
- build workbench/sink and storage area
- repair/rebuild existing timber steps into garden
- initiate in partnership with school a 'friends of group' to ensure the future growth and development of the project
- research, plan and set up facilities in readiness for the arrival of poultry
Why it's a great idea:
Our vision is to provide an accessible garden that will continue to grow and foster the ideals of an inclusive, diverse community.
Providing an inclusive green space to share with those who don't have access to their own garden, who may feel the isolation of living alone, miss the camaraderie of work, are less able to engage in physical activity. This will be a safe space in which to feel part of the community to get to know your neighbors.
Trees for Cities are partnering the school to install the educational edible garden and support its use in teaching as part of the curriculum. This will give exciting opportunities for collaboration in the production of food from seed to plate with easy access to the school kitchen and creating an opportunity for the community to support St Mark’s pupils’ ongoing gardening experience after school hours, sharing and teaching gardening skills and learning how to looking after the chickens.
Promoting the notion of community volunteering to all ages.
Steps to get it done:
- consultation with partners, school and Trees for Cities to discuss integrated design and installation of edible garden
- preparing a schedule of works, timing of works, provision of materials and delivery of funded garden
- ordering materials and equipment prior to installation.
- planning a community planting day with contractors, put risk assessment in place
- on completion plan and host an opening event with the school and local community
- initiate a community 'friends of' group to plan the ongoing development and growth of the stated project.
- plan & consult in readiness for introducing poultry; purchase and set up equipment
- set up a schedule for the daily care of chickens before introducing them to the garden
- monitor development, maintenance and growth of the garden and associated initiatives
Within this managed garden we will initiate social, 'get to know your neighbour' sessions and seasonal workshops to welcome and encourage community engagement during the schools downtime.
Workshops/sessions may include; 'grow & swap', 'willow weaving' 'sowing your supper', gardening for beginners, poultry keeping, yoga sessions, tai chi, storytelling and cookery sessions . These out of school hours activities will happen throughout the year alongside the regular maintenance of the garden. We hope to grow an organic community who will partner with the school and develop ideas as the relationship grows.
Supporting the school in its partnership with Trees for Cities to embed the ethos of seed to plate as part of the curriculum is an important element of our vision. Enabling access for the children and their families to the garden after school and supporting them to see the garden as more than a class based activity. Encouraging the notion of community volunteering as fun.