Pertwood Camp for Paper Garden Generators

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On the 30th August, 11 Generators from Canada Water set off to Pertwood Organic Farm for the first time. They have been Generators since April, and we were excited to show them the magic of Pertwood.

As ever, the copse of Hawthorn welcomed them all, and tentatively showed them her paths to the undergrowth where they would pitch their tents. Settling in, unpacking, learning the way to the kitchen, and listening to the sounds of the natural world, the Generators embraced their new home.

“Leaving London behind makes me feel… Relieved that we still have a chance to live in the beautiful world that we are slowly destroying. It's great but my home is so different, maybe I'll move out here some day and forget everything that is happening in the majority of the world.” - Taliah, Y7 

“Leaving London behind makes me feel… Expecting, No offence but If you can't find what you want to do in the great capital of London then you cant find it anywhere. The countryside is beautiful, way more green than you’d see in our city. The sky is softer, the clouds fluffier and air calmer. On the way we saw some blackberries on bushes and picked them. In London you don't have that kind of unlimited food from the earth.”  - Isioma, Y7 

“Leaving London behind makes me feel…A little bit sad and anxious. But I felt eager to explore the journey ahead. As I settled down in my tent I noticed lots of differences to the city, compared to the countryside. Back in London that berries in the park were poisonous, however I was told that they aren't here so I picked them and it actually tasted quite delicious.” - Hedi, Y4

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We explored the river, felt the power of silence in a morning walk to the stone circle, the warmth of the fire, and the gift of food from the trees and the kitchen. We chatted, and listened to Alison's wisdom about our feathered friends, Sadhbh’s foraging tips, David’s detailed descriptions of the farm, Dexter’s forest bathing experiences, and Siw’s striking of flint on steel to spark the flames. And we walked, and watched. We collected berries, feathers, and flint. Each movement was an exploration, pushed by curiosity and a sense of adventure.

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In the tradition of our Youth Camps we ended our trip by writing letters to the farm:

“Dear Pertwood,

Coming to the farm was a very changing opportunity. Over the past few days I have discovered things about myself I never thought I could do. For example walk for 5 hours straight, through the hills and not feel worn out. It will be a shame when we go back to London as there won't be any nice fruit, and fruit trees, that we will be able to freely pick. This place has taught me survival, responsibility, and teamwork. Thanks for everything.

P.S. the pollution is very good as well and you can see the stars at night.” - Oluferanmi, Y8

“Dear Pertwood,

I appreciate your hospitality in letting us stay here, you know better than most how fragile and malleable nature can be so being allowed this experience in a place of such enchanting beauty is considerable.

Both my grandparents are farmers (I come from a long line of Romanian peasants) and being here- especially gazing at all the open fields- almost made me cry with nostalgia. It truly felt like a home away from the home of childhood. I just wanted to say that farms and the countryside are integral to youth and childhood and that coming here has allowed me to see that again. Coming here has made me reconnect with a more innocent sense of self that I always thought had diminished and I (as an emotionally repressed teenager from London) am really grateful for the experience.” - Maria, Y13

“Thank you for having us stay it has been fascinating to stay at as SSSI and Britain's oldest organic farm. I have had laid sod fun and David was very nice. The farm is, and will always be a special place. Especially for all the animals and wildlife. Thank you for having me.” - Alex, Y6

These letters speak loud and clear to the farm, the Generators felt the magic of the trees and the ancient fields. I did too.

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The chalk stained our skin and minds. As part of my masters enquiry I painted a picture of the chalk paths that had made impressions on my mind lasting days after the camp. Like Maria, I contemplated my roots on the chalk downs, and what it meant to slow down in such a comforting space. Once again, thank you Pertwood.

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