We are a group of people who love to grow food and to encourage and enable others too. This group started in April 2022, we now have 10 people/families in our group, plus 6 villagers who are part of the garden share. We do not have a structure or meetings, we keep in touch with each other through a WhatsApp group chat, and pass on messages by other means to those who do not use this app. The activities we do are directed by the interest of those involved. We very much welcome new people who drive new ideas and will support almost anything that encourages others to grow food. Here follows a summary of what we do.
GARDEN SHARE: Brigitte matches available gardens (or garden space) with someone who wants to grow food, which usually means one grower matched per garden. Both owner and grower will agree the terms of this share and what they each hope to gain by sharing. The most basic gain is friendship and a share of the crops grown. We very much appreciate and respect that owners open their private space to us, and we do not allow photos to be taken, location details to be shared with others or money to change hands.
SURPLUS PRODUCE SHARE: During the main growing season, we encourage people to share their glut of produce with the local community, rather than throw it away. Anne has provided shelves at Beulah Lodge where surplus produce was left for others to pick up and use. This past season we have seen on the shelves: sweetcorn, courgette, beans, herbs, kale, apples, damsons, eggs, and many more items. For people who have fruit trees and bushes in their garden and are not able to pick these themselves, Anne will gladly come and pick to share with both owner and community.
TOOL LIBRARY: We kindly received some gardening tools, Dan and Margaret are now considering setting up a tool library.
COMMUNITY COMPOSTING: One of the suggestions at a recent village event was for community composting and we will be exploring this idea further. Our group can offer plenty of tips and advice for home composting.
COMMUNITY ORCHARD: the B4RN Caton Volunteer Group are providing funding for a community orchard and have obtained full approval by the Parish Council and Lancaster City Council who own the designated land. Grow Caton will work with the Gardening Club to draw up planting and maintenance plans. This is a great opportunity for villagers to get involved in very practical work. SEED SWAP: For the past 3 years Brigitte has provided a seed swap box in the village during the growing season. It is a place for anyone to drop off spare seeds from their used packets, to be picked up and used by others. The plan is that the box will be back at the library entrance of the Victoria Institute from February onwards.
SUPPORT, ENCOURAGEMENT, ADVICE: We would love to see everyone grow, even one vegetable in a pot. If you do not know where to start, then please get in touch and we will see how we can support you. Through our group chat we will aim to inspire each other by sharing our ‘tasks for the week’ and to try help each other with those bigger tasks where many hands make light work. We also share details of local events that are food and growing related.
WHAT ELSE…? If there is anything we have not yet thought of, then please do let us know! You can get in touch with us via Peter Collins at the Victoria Institute or via Brigitte 770771 or email firstname.lastname@example.org