A Community Garden is a single piece of land collectively cultivated by a group of people. Such gardens bring benefits in terms of local food security, a sense of community, education and connection to the environment, artistic expression, and health.
In Cardiff, Chapter Arts Centre has established a Community Garden, run by Canton Community Gardens. Food plants have been arranged with regard to their decorative effect, amongst existing trees and newly-planted apple trees, in borders around the front of the arts complex. A colourful array of plants, including brassica species and nasturtiums was achieved last year.
Earlier this year, purple-sprouting broccoli, in a bed running up to the main entrance, became ready to pick. Word was sent out over social networking sites, inviting local people to come and take a share. This is a novel concept. Certainly, there was some broccoli that could have been picked that went to seed. Maybe Chapter should put up suggested portion sizes for the communal bounty, so people don’t feel anxious about taking more than their fair share, and to discourage a minority who may excessively crop the plants. I predict this garden will become increasingly popular as more people contribute and benefit from it.
In its first year (2010), Chapter’s edible Community Garden was a winner in the Peoples Millions Big Lottery competition. The garden is set to expand in 2011. Designs for a “perennial edible landscape” have been draw up by Michele Fitzsimmons (ediblelandscaping.co.uk). These plans were approved by Cardiff Council in February. Gardening is underway. I’ll be blogging on progress, as I visit Chapter during the rest of this year.