Community garden plan for Hillfields to launch with picnic
A COMMUNITY picnic is being held to launch a garden project for the people of Hillfields.
The event on June 19, from noon until 2pm, will bring together residents to help plan a community garden in Hillfields Park.
Four local women – Rhianna Micciche, Rebecca Jenkins, Teodora Aldridge and Sarah Rogers – have worked for months to get permission and funding to build the garden close to Hillfields church off Thicket Avenue.
It will include raised beds for herbs and vegetables, a wildflower area, two living willow play domes and an orchard of 18 fruit trees, where locals can grow food together and connect with nature.
Sarah, 37, who has lived in nearby Woodland Way for five years, said the community garden would take away the pressure of growing things in your own garden.
She said: "There’s often a fear that if you plant something, all of a sudden you have a big commitment. With the community garden we want to show that the pace of life can be a bit slower when you’re gardening.
"We don’t want gardening to be elitist in any way. It makes no difference whether you know the Latin name for a plant, what matters is that you have a go at growing something. If it doesn’t work the first time, you just try it a different way next time."
Sarah is hoping to run children’s gardening sessions, teaching them how to grow fruits and vegetables including raspberries, strawberries, beans and tomatoes.
Rebecca, 35, who has lived in Hillfields for six years and has experience of managing social projects, helped apply for £800 funding from Fishponds Local Action Group (FLAG) to cover the start-up costs of the garden.
She said: "Gardening is a great way of bringing people together.
"A lot of similar activities for toddlers, such as forest schools, are really expensive, so we wanted to set up the community garden so children can access nature for free."
People coming to the picnic can contribute ideas about how they’d like to see the community garden used, as well as join in games and enjoy music.
If more than 30 people come along, the organisers will split the event into two groups to comply with covid restrictions.
The community picnic will be followed by a Dig Day on July 25 from 10am-3pm, where residents can help build the raised beds, using railway sleepers.
In the future, the group hopes to get permission to add seating and a path, to make the garden more accessible.
Anyone who can spare time to help out with the community garden can contact the group via the Hillfields Community Garden Facebook page.