Story so far..
A brief version.
On a sunny Saturday in April 2010 a group of neighbours gathered at a street corner on Wardieburn Road. There was a patch of grass with a fence round it, that hadn't been used for anything for as long as anyone could remember. We began to dig it up. Neighbours who had lived next door to each other for years but didn't know each other, started chatting. Everyone met new people that day. Friendships formed. People brought old tools and seeds. An older woman donated a tenner and we dug up 54p in change (our budget for the first 2 years). A community garden was created with a mix of flowers and vegetables planted. Over the following weeks and months, the garden, and many of the friendships, flourished. The soil turned out to be rich and deep.
Soon, a group of neighbours from the other end of Wardieburn Road decided to start a community garden on a similar but larger unused corner.
Over time more neighbours got involved bringing new skills, ideas and energy. We started to be more ambitious and focussed on producing larger amounts of food.
And in time we started to have some great harvests
During colder months of the year, when we didn't see eachother as often in the gardens, we started cooking and eating together in public buildings, using the food we'd grown.
In 2012 we formed a community group and managed to secure a bit of funding to buy a shed and some tools, as well as to run a 12 week 'Grow your own' course in the garden.
Our community meals started getting larger too as more people joined to celebrate harvests and other occasions.
In January 2014, in partnership with Pilton Community Health Project and Royston Wardieburn Community Centre, we organised a Burns Night Community Ceilidh. It far exceeded our expectations, as so many people came along, helped out, and performed songs, poems, and dances. It has since become a regular annual event.
Gardening work continued and neighbours from other streets came to ask for help in starting community gardens on other street corners. The amount of land being cultivated in Granton slowly started to expand..
It gradually became unsurprising for street corners to be planted with crops (in Wardieburn at least).
In Jan 2017 we became a charity. We aim to support gardening and especially anyone growing food in the area. We now work regularly in Granton Primary School, and host a free weekly community meal open to all. We provide support to residents cultivating over 12 different community growing plots across Royston Wardieburn. We host community events. And we try to support and encourage anyone who's got a great idea to make Granton better especially if it involves making sure everyone is fed well! Everything we've achieved has happened because someone has come along with a great idea and has acted on it.
In November 2017 we moved our regular community meals to Granton Parish Church hall. They now run every week year-round. For many of us, our habit had previously been to eat our meals only with those very close to us, or alone. By working together (and with our amazing cooking team) we've been enjoying better food than we'd be likely to cook at home, and got used to sitting and eating with neighbours. It's interesting to reflect on the effect this has on us and our community. There are now lots of kids growing up, for whom 'community meal' is part of normal life. Nobody should ever go hungry, or have to eat alone, in Granton.
In May 2018 we gained access to our big community garden. A gap site, where a building had just been demolished. With no utilities and a large desert-like expanse of compacted rubble, this was one of our biggest challenges so far. An incredible effort followed, with over 200 people getting involved over the following months. Within the space of a few weeks, we began getting complements for the new garden. In the winter of 2018/19, we planted over 30 fruit trees and created a series of paths. The garden remains (and hopefully always will be) a fruitful work in progress. It's a place where people come to work, learn, relax, chat, play and eat. It's now our base, where we host regular open drop-in sessions. We also host a wide range of groups, including school children, parents and toddlers, afterschool clubs.
It's been created from rubble, with very little money, but a huge amount of hard work, creativity, and ingenuity from those who've come along and worked together.
Some of our current new initiatives include:
- Free shop (for clothes, toys, and bric a brac -open during garden drop in times)
- Granton Chicken Co-op (a small egg laying flock joint owned by a dozen local families)
- Granton Garden Bakery
The story continues! What shall we do together next?