A local farmer sets aside a field for community growing. A group of local residents get together to plan. A stall at the roadside offers fresh, organic, pay-as-you-feel veg to the community, and a local Foodbank distributes free, organic food to people who are facing food insecurity.
The essence of this vision… “shared, organic produce, by and for the community,” can be a template for the future, especially as our children recognise its ever increasing value in our modern times.Poster outside Donington on Bain community garden
Local food for local people
“The principle behind the garden is local food for local people – reducing food miles, growing more healthy, sustainable food,” a volunteer explained to me when I visited the garden on Pick Your Own Saturday.
The garden is open for people to call in at any time, to weed, harvest and add to the road-side veg stall.
The monthly Pick Your Own Saturday is a particularly welcoming event: there is always someone from the team on hand, and it is a popular day for friends and locals to come and help out.
Social distancing is easy, and there is an atmosphere of camaraderie.
There’s a wheelchair-accessible compost toilet on site, built by the volunteers, and an outdoor sink with running water, and a caravan for less socially-distanced times, and in the meantime provides some extra storage.
Passers-by help themselves to food from the roadside stall, leaving a pay-as-you-feel donation.
The story of Donington Community Garden
The garden opened in May 2019 with a core group of around 10 organisers, including the daughter of the land-owner.
Since then, the garden has attracted around 20 regular volunteers from the local community, as well as occasional drop-ins and guests, and many locals who partake in the veg from the stall.
A variety of produce is grown, including leeks, sunflowers, carrots, kale, cabbages, beans, apples and more. Everything is grown organically, and the soil is kept covered with green manures when it is not growing food.
Not everyone wants to get their hands dirty, but the gardeners hope that over time, relationships will develop, and people who are not (yet) gardeners will feel an increasing connection to the garden and to local food, and will feel able to get more involved.
“Everyone’s learning together and learning from each other and working it out as we go along,” one volunteer told me. “We’re here as equals. That’s a really important aspect of the garden to me.
“Some of us with kids of various ages, and it’s a great learning experience for them. It’s wonderful to see the intergenerational friendships that are being made.”
If you would like to find out more about Donington on Bain Community Garden, please visit on a Pick Your Own Saturday (first Saturday of each month) or get in touch with them – details on the posters outside the garden.
If you’d like tell us about about what’s going on in your area, or if you’d like to start something new, please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org