Community garden to be a feast for the eyes and the stomachs

MEMBERS of the Wonky Women’s Institute hope to create a valuable local resource, by transforming unused land in Central St Leonards into a community garden.

A key element of the garden is that the vegetable plants and small fruit trees will be planted in mobile containers that can easily be moved on when the current site is developed, hence the name “Moveable Feast.”

The site, owned by Roost is at 57-59 Western Road, and the owners, having no plans to develop the site this year, have given the project the green light.

Hastings Borough Council is funding the planning permission for a temporary change in land use, and site clearance, Orbit South have made a contribution, and the WI has given a grant towards soil and plants.

This will be a container garden with a difference as everything is being constructed to be portable so that the garden can be moved to another vacant plot when Roost need their site back.

Pallets, tyres, builder’s sacks, shopping trolleys and plastic crates will be filled with compost and planted up with edibles.

About one third of the site in Western Road will be devoted to fruit and vegetables, while the rest will be planted with annual wild flowers.

The idea is that groups within the community will be able to take responsibility for areas within the garden.

Sally Walton, one of the women behind Moveable Feast, said: “Most people around these parts don’t have a garden.

“There are allotments, but none of them are in the centre of St Leonards.

“The idea is to grow vegetables, fruit, and flowers, and enjoy them.”

The inspiration is the “Incredible Edible” project in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, which grows and campaigns for local food, involving schools in educational projects and inviting the whole community to get involved.

Seeds have already been sown in preparation, and after the site is cleared on May 1, the group hope that the garden will open at the beginning of June.

Everyone is invited to join in and help the project grow, as the garden has the potential to develop in different ways depending on how the community wishes to use it.

The team are appealing for donations of material and equipment to help kick-start the garden, such as builders sacks for planting, soil or compost, water butts, tools, and fruit and vegetable plants.

To get involved or find out more email mfcommunitygarden@gmail.com, visit www.moveablefeastgarden.wordpress.com, or alternatively contact Sylvia Bennett at Gensing and Central St Leonards Community Forum on 01424 438291.