This year has been an incredible year for Global Gardens.
We have held 71 garden sessions, 12 workshops, one course, 11 suppers and three field trips.
This has meant over 300 people have participated in our project activities!
In June we were thrilled to be awarded the People’s Project which is enabling us to deepen the work we do and develop some important infrastructure – including a toilet and learning space.
The People's Project funding has enabled us to continue the Saturday afternoon sessions (2-5pm) and introduce Wednesday garden sessions (10am-3pm).
This year we have held 43 Saturday sessions and 28 Wednesday sessions. Over 80 people have joined us at these sessions - including students, refugees, asylum seekers and other local residents.
During these sessions we have prepared an extra 8 beds and cultivated crops including: tomatoes, aubergines, chillies, cucumbers and coriander (in the polytunnel); peas, broad beans, kale, cabbage, squash, courgette, beans and corn (in the veg patch); flowers including sunflowers, sweet peas, borage, nasturtium and calendula; and a perennial herb bed with herbs including lemon balm, mint, myrtle, oregano, rosemary, sage and winter savory.
Alongside the regular garden sessions, this year we have held a series of workshops at the garden on organic gardening and low-impact living, including:
-Cultivating fungi in the garden with Rich Wright (04/18);
-Healing herbs in the garden with Rhizome Clinic (07/18);
-Introduction to permaculture with Michele (08/18);
-Introduction to off-grid energy with Suneil (09/18);
-Growing organic cut-flowers through the year with Eva (10/18);
-Introduction to bio-dynamics with Kai (10/18);
-Salad growing with Sophie (10/18);
-Seed-saving with Poppy (10/18).
Several of these workshops were made possible thanks to support from Grow Wild and the Permaculture Association Wales. We also hosted two Green City workshops - on willow weaving and seed-saving.
With more produce being cultivated at the garden, we have been able to increase the amount of produce harvested and used at the Global Gardens monthly suppers. This year we have held 11 suppers - mainly at the Embassy Cafe, Cathays Community Centre. Supper activities have included:
-Screening of the film In Our Hands in January;
-Gardening vision session in February;
-Making vegan welsh cakes to celebrate St.David's Day and raise funds for Welsh Women's Aid in March;
-Listening to Prof. Lynne Boddy (Cardiff University) talk about the incredible fungi kingdom in April;
-Celebrating the result of the People's Project with a wood-fired sourdough pizza party using our cob oven in June;
-Learning more about the intimate links between plants and pollinators at out bee friendly supper with talks by Maria Golightly (Grow Wild), Terry Howe and Bryony (Friends of Earth Cardiff) in July;
-A zine making workshop in September;
-Celebrating the summer harvest with a harvest meal including roast squash, chilli and Kurdish rice in September;
-Launching our Seeds and Spores zine in October;
-Smoking chillies from the garden at Spit and Sawdust in December;
-A festive feast in December.
Getting out and about
Thanks to support from Grow Wild, we also held two walks - a plant walk at a site of special scientific interest with Julian Woodman (Glamorgan Botany Group) and a fungi walk with Rich Wright at Cathays Community Centre. We also held a field trip to Lammas Ecovillage, thanks to support from the Permaculture Association Wales.
The People's Project funding has enabled us to develop the creative activities on offer.
In the autumn, we held our first Global Gardens pottery course with Jack Welbourne at One Wall Studio, One Fox Lane co-working space. The course, which included six sessions covered three basic hand-building techniques (pinching, slabbing and coiling) and offered participants an opportunity to throw on the wheel.
We are further developing the range of activities enabling creativity in the garden. This year we hosted two willow weaving workshops with Imogen Higgins - making sunflowers and dragonflies in the summer and festive wreaths and bird feeders in the winter - and our first creative writing workshop with Lucy Smith.
This year has been the first year that we have saved seed at the garden. We hope to extend the seed-saving activities at Global Gardens in to 2019 and beyond,
To mark the launch of the Global Gardens seed-saving activities, five artists - Louise Young, Ellie Young, Emily Unsworth-White, Tess Gray and Rosie Swann drew five plants growing at the garden that we are saving the seed from - calendula, borage, chard, evening primrose and sunflower.
Jack Welbourne also made a range of seed-saving ceramic jars. All of these works were displayed at the Embassy Cafe November 2018 - January 2019.
Growing with the community
Alongside the weekly garden sessions and workshops, much of the site-works have been supported by some key groups in the local community.
We held five eco-therapy sessions in collaboration with New Link Wales - where participants have helped prepare a number of beds for planting as they go through the healing process.
We have received Social Farms and Gardens Wales mentoring support from Isla Fisher (Grow Cardiff) who is helping us make the garden more child and family friendly.
The tireless Good Gym Cardiff folk ran to the site twice and helped out by digging beds, moving compost and harvesting apples.
A lively team from the ONS Data Science Campus as part of Business in the Community helped us dig over three beds and the polytunnel ready for planting out the summer veg and helped raise funds to hire a skip to remove rubbish from the site.
Three Cardiff University Student Volunteering lead volunteers in 2018: Lucy Smith and Glesnu Owen (2017/2018) and Isabel Ellis (2018/2019) enabled over 30 students to volunteer at the garden.
Building upon our links with Cardiff University in March, a group of Marie Curie SusPlace early career researchers visited the garden as part of their programme on sustainable place-making and in August, 26 geographers came to the garden as part of the Royal Geographical Society Food Geographies fringe event to think about food growing in urban spaces, learn more about the project and get involved in some gardening. We were also one of the MSc Sustainable Food Systems Live Projects this year.
Global Gardens Team
Thanks to support from the People's Project, the Global Gardens core team has grown. Shaun Lane has joined the team as outreach coordinator whilst biodynamic grower and farmer Kai Lange helps facilitate the Wednesday sessions, sharing his organic growing expertise. Vaida Bardawaite has taken on the role of coordinating the monthly suppers and garden harvesting. Jack Welbourne has continued his work with the project as pottery tutor whilst Poppy Nicol continues to act as project coordinator.
As we reflect upon the growing year, we are thankful to all the individuals, groups and organisations that have helped us continue our work bringing people together to grow food, cook food and be creative.
In 2019, we are looking forward to continuing to extend the opportunities for learning about organic gardening, healthy cooking and creativity through working with clay and wood.
We are also looking forward to participating in the Tyfu i Ddysgu/Community Learning Ambassadors Project alongside Riverside Community Garden, Mackintosh Community Garden, Canton Community Garden and St.Peter's Community Garden.
With thanks to everyone for all of the support and hard work this year. Here's to 2019!
If you would like to get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org