Springing Into Action

Signs of spring were popping up (quite literally) at Sufra’s St Raphael’s Edible Garden this week. Here you’ll find fruit trees in bud, recently sown salad, herb and vegetable seeds germinating, and daffodils adding a touch of colour!

The garden, which was established three years ago on an abandoned site, relies on local volunteers to help not only with planting but creating the various structures with an expert touch. This includes a wildlife pond, compost containers, raised beds and a fruit orchard. Donors have provided materials and seeds that have enabled improvements, such as a better pathway to make it easier for people with walking difficulties and wheelchairs, as well as a teepee for educational activities.

The garden also houses a wonderful community of chickens, with regular egg production. Harvested vegetables are used for meals in the Community Kitchen held every Friday at the Sufra NW London centre.

Garden manager Jim Sheeran explained how the garden is rooted in the community and is giving people in the nearby estate a chance to experience gardening first hand – and bring in their own skills too. One volunteer has built a pizza oven, while another has brought their knowledge of raising chickens to redesign the chicken run and improve the welfare of the animals.

“People are often under stress for a variety of reasons. Gardening is very therapeutic,” he says. “People feel encouraged because they see the results of their work as seeds and plants begin to shoot up. Spring is a great time of year as everything begins to blossom.

“Through our educational and vocational activities we are also creating a new generation of gardeners who can grow their own food and appreciate the value of fresh produce.”

Next month St Raphael’s is running a course on chicken rearing for young people. It also runs other courses and activities. For further information please click here or contact us on admin@sufra-nwlondon.org.uk  / 020 3441 1335.

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