The Garden has always been a place to grow food, but it’s so much more than that. A melting pot of people getting together for fresh air, exercise, a laugh and a social – and to share a meal at lunchtime. You can even find people lifting the occasional spade! Unfortunately, this virus has put a stop to all that, and events are moving so fast it’s almost impossible to keep up.
For now, a few of us are digging for victory at the garden because we understand the need to be producing as much fresh, local, organic fruit and veg as possible. So we are busy planting more potatoes, lettuces, french and runner beans, peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, courgettes and onions than we would usually, so we can get this surplus to The Bevy.
One minute The Bevy was pouring pints. Now it’s an emergency food hub delivering cooked meals to the most vulnerable and isolated people in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean.
We have always delivered our surplus to The Bevy’s Friday Friends so everyone can enjoy runner beans and rhubarb when it’s coming out of our ears. In fact, The Bevy as well as being the only community owned pub on a housing estate is Brighton’s only zero waste pub, working in partnership with everyone from FareShare Sussex, Brighton Food Factory, Moulsecoomb Primary School, Infinity Foods Wholesalers and others to produce home cooked food.
For a long time, Britain has needed to start producing a lot more of its own food and thankfully this is something the Forest Garden can help with in a small way. We need to cut our addiction to flying food from all over the world. And what’s more crazy than flying people into England to help farmers when we have millions of people stuck at home itching to do something?
As a small charity we are always on the breadline and used to adapting to changing circumstances, and while this is sudden it is no different. We are resourceful, nimble and have amazing staff and trustees. We have cut costs, but we still have wages to pay and seeds to buy (we do save as much seed as we can). So if you love what we are doing please consider becoming a Friend of the Forest Garden and supporting our longer term sustainability with a monthly donation. It’s easy to do and will make a big difference.
Now is the time to bring the ideal of Moulsecoomb as a garden estate back to life, to dig up those lawns and start growing.
And in the not too distant future, when we fling open our gates again, we will cook a feast to remember, celebrating what we do best. Bringing people together.
* Frustrated sitting at home wondering what to do? If you’re lucky enough to have a garden grow some potatoes, runner beans and tomatoes. If you’ve got a balcony a tray of salad will at least give you some fresh produce each day. Gardeners World Low Maintenance Fruit & Veg and RHS Vegetable Basics can help get you started