London communities come together in the Skip Garden

As a community garden, we, at the Skip Garden, are always trying to bring more people into the garden to learn, eat, and grow together. Over the summer we held several community events for different organisations to come and experience the Skip Garden and to meet new people.

The Islington Bangladeshi Association joined us for a meal and some organic growing training on a sunny Sunday in July. They were keen to get tips on how to grow fresh fruit and vegetables organically for their own garden at the local community centre. We talked about the importance of taking care of the soil using natural fertilizers and crop rotation methods in order to grow healthy plants. We also explored the importance of attracting a variety of wildlife to the garden in order to promote a healthy and working ecosystem – nature’s natural pesticide! After the workshop, we sat down to eat together and discuss the difficulties of gardening in the city as well as swap recipes. Fun fact: one of our most common weeds, known as ‘fat hen’ because it is most often fed to chickens, is used as common spinach in Bangladesh!

Then in August, we welcomed 20 families from Families First (FF) to the garden. FF is an incredible charity that works in both Islington and Camden to provide whole family support to tackle a variety of issues. We worked together to provide a social space; a chance for families to meet each other and for children to play, learn, and create in a safe and welcoming environment. It was also a chance for families to spend time together and learn an assortment of skills together such as sowing seeds, understanding what worms eat, or making a nature wall hanger. It was extremely enjoyable to see the children running around looking for insects in all the nooks and crannies of the garden.

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Coming up next week, we will also be welcoming a group of young people from the Young Carers charity to the garden for an evening session where they will be able to learn some cooking and gardening skills. Because many spend most of their time caring for an older relative, the chance to get out and learn and do something for themselves will be a precious one.

With all of the above, it is a real pleasure to provide a nurturing and creative space to different members of the community for whatever their needs are. Some leave saying they feel more relaxed and focused after spending a little time among our plants, a space away from the stresses of their lives. Others are inspired to grow their own food and flowers on whatever bit of space they have and are invigorated with a new sense of purpose and responsibility. It is a continual gift to watch what a small amount of time outdoors and interacting with nature can do.

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