Wilmslow Community Market Garden entered two of their food growing gardens into the Britain in Bloom competition as part of Wilmslow's entry.
They did this to showcase the work of local volunteers in coming together to directly address wellbeing, food poverty and food sustainability during the lockdowns.
Not only did their Oakenclough and Temp gardens win Gold Awards, the Oakenclough garden received an additional Discretionary National Award which is a National Certificate of Distinction in recognition of the community work and support to locals during a difficult time.
In addition to receiving these accolades, the group has supported Hope Central Food Bank with fresh food donations. They have also engaged with local Scouts, Guides and other youth groups and worked with the Time Out Group in Handforth to offer gardening activities with adults with learning difficulties. They have provided talks online and supported a number of people into employment.
Joe, whose identity has been protected, said, "I was referred to the Oakenclough garden during the first lockdown. My direct debits were bouncing, I was worried about food and bills. I was isolated and not in a good place. The team at Wilmslow Community Market Garden made me feel safe and welcomed. I volunteer most days when the garden is open – whatever the weather. The team has helped build my confidence, given me routine and purpose, and after a long period of unemployment, I now have a job! I am so happy and hope this garden can help others who face a similar situation to me."
Wilmslow Community Market Garden has four gardens across the town with each one offering something different. The Oakenclough garden, on Colshaw Drive, is the largest and sports a polytunnel to grow seedlings and extend the growing season. The Temp is a long established community food growing garden on Gravel Lane, where locals and youth groups come together to grow and share food. The Food Forest Garden, on Land Lane, aims to create an edible forest for future generations and The Secret Garden, off Styal Road, is a quiet and tranquil place where people can escape life's hustle and bustle and grow food together.
With a vision to create a two acre market garden, the group are looking for volunteers to support the effort to teach people about growing their own food, producing more local food and addressing climate change. There was an Open Day on Saturday, 30th October, where locals were invited to participate in autumnal planting, apple pressing, yoga and qigong among many other activities.
This initiative has been supported and funded by Wilmslow Town Council and The National Lottery Community Fund, distributed by Transition Network.
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