In a little corner in the middle of the greenery that is Stanmer Park, located in a plot of land rented from the Council, we find 15 amazing community projects and organisations, united under a cooperative called Stanmer Organics. We have come to visit the brand new Common Ground project and their lovely team.
As soon as we arrive, Roxy, one of Common Ground managers, welcomes us and shows as around the garden. Theirs is a fresh new project, full of brilliant ideas and willing to share them with more and more people as the project progresses. They are already working on their growing patch, and they have just launched a Crowdfunder to build an outdoor kitchen, a workshop space, expand their pond, and keep a more wild area for volunteers to relax and enjoy nature, Roxy tells us as she moves around the plot. One of the corners of the plot will be left free, so their future volunteers can decide what to grow or how to use the space.
‘Common Ground is meant to be a space in nature for people in the community, especially marginalised groups, to come and learn about food growing and make connections with each other and the earth’, Alexandra, another project manager, informs us. With a special emphasis in refugee and migrant participants, this project highlights how food growing can be a great way of storytelling and breaking down barriers. While the managers work in the garden, getting it ready for participants, they can also take a minute from everything else and share stories about their day under the sun.
This is exactly what they want for the future Common Ground participants, a safe and healthy space of appreciation for their participants’ diversity of experiences. Their aim is to encourage them to share stories and knowledge about different cuisines, while they gather around and cook the food they have grown.
It is impressive how many things need to be taken into account before even starting a community garden project like this one! The vegetables and fruit that Common Ground participants will be growing will be organic, which needs certificates and scrupulous paperwork. They are also looking for volunteers that are willing to learn about how to safely work with vulnerable population and want to spend their days in the sun gardening! Overall, the team is doing a great job in getting the garden ready as soon as possible, which is absolutely amazing. We really hope that such a cool project is successful in building a community over healthy organic food growing and cooking together.
In words of Alexandra: It’s a beautiful way to build connections between people over food you grow together!
You can read more about all the exciting updates about this project and follow them on their social media on the Common Ground Semble profile
Also, if you want to collaborate with their Crowdfunder campaign, that would be awesome!
The Semble team will be out and about visiting projects over the coming months, in order to meet project leads, and find out how we can best support your project to grow. If you would like a visit from us get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.