In January, we launched the Growing Solidarity project. We are fortunate to have the means to be on bountiful land where we can work, live and collectively grow organic food. We recognise the importance of nature connection and want to do what we can to provide access to others and to share what we have got. We know that there are many people that don’t have the opportunity to be connected to nature and harness its possibilities.
We are working with Reading Refugee Support Group (RRSG) to deliver seeds, seedlings, soil, and support to individuals and families in our local migrant community. As we cautiously approach an easing of lockdown, we are reopening the land that we are part of on the Hardwick Estate to the RRSG community. We are offering our space to connect to nature, rest, solialise, share and grow together in a beautiful natural setting.
From choice comes empowerment
We believe that everybody should have the opportunity to grow food and medicine to sustain themselves, their families and their own communities. Our aim is to listen to the individuals and families that we work with, provide resources to support the ideas that they come up with, and empower them to shape the project and take it in directions that they choose.
Before the crisis we were regularly opening up our farm for the project. As we were unable to host people during lockdown, we have been connecting with people directly at home. Each week we deliver a range of seeds and plants to homes, along with planters (up-cycled from pallets!), soil, tools and knowledge about growing. What we bring each week is lead by the individual or household. People can choose to fill up their own planter, and choose the seedlings they want.
During our visits, new gardeners have given us their own pickled delicacies. People have also been sharing their seedlings and produce with others in the community. Through sowing seeds in a literal sense, it is our hope that this project can be a seed from which all kinds of fruits will grow!
Crisis expands our imaginations around what is possible
As Canadian activist Naomi Klein puts it, “the status quo is an emergency…in this moment of vulnerability, we must shine light on what is possible and carry this forward into building a different future”.
We exist in a time of disconnection and fragmentation from each other and the natural world. We see investing in connection to one another, our communities and the land as a necessary stepping stone towards a better future. And a more resilient future. Growing Solidarity offers one of those steps.