The Riverside Community Garden Project has been running for six years and proves that growing and cooking your own vegetables is much more fun than anything you might pick up in a supermarket. I went along to meet Jenny Howell, who runs the project.
After cycling through the rain, I finally arrived at the garden, looking rather muddy and bedraggled. I was met by a hardy bunch, who were certainly not put off by the weather.
The garden is located at the northern end of Pontcanna Fields, about half an hour’s walk from the city centre. Jenny gave me a tour of the site, which consists of two poly tunnels, a pond and wildlife area, a social space, containing a number of weird and wonderful bread ovens, and even the odd gnome.
The project allows local people to get together and grow their own food. Regular gardener, Lewis Mottram, said: “I was looking for somewhere to volunteer and heard about this project at the Riverside market. I live nearby and I love coming to the garden.”
The project brings together people from many different backgrounds. Jenny said: “We have individuals with learning difficulties, unemployed people, students, and sometimes groups of school children. You don’t need any experience. We welcome everyone.”
The project has a core of eight dedicated members, who work in the garden come rain or shine. During the summer months, up to 20 members take part in growing, building and cooking activities.
The aim of the garden is to provide a place where people can learn how to grow food in a friendly and supportive setting. The wide range of organic fruits, vegetables and flowers reflects the diversity of the project’s members.
Jenny said: “We’re working on several new projects at the moment. We’re in the process of refurbishing some sheds, using salvaged materials.” The volunteers are also working on a new forest garden, which will provide a different growing environment.