• Bridgette Macilwaine

Gardening with a community allotment

I'm thrilled to share my journey as part of the Whitehawk Community Food Project team (WCFP) since finding them through Instagram, I instantly loved what they were doing, I knew this friendly, organic gardening group of volunteers, growing herbs, fruits and vegetables for the local community was something I wanted to be a part of.


As well as offering a wonderful green, outdoor, educational space for people who might have limited access to green spaces, it's a wonderful place to meet people from all backgrounds and skills in a garden setting.

Before arriving to the location, the usual searching google maps and street view took place (as is so normal now with easy internet access) to understand where I was meant to heading and the entrance meeting gate which was described to me as crossing the field on the top of the hill once you see the large mast.


Parking in Brighton centre with the plan to walk/cycle to the WFCP, although realising very quickly that the first ten mins of flat road were easy, but the next 20 minutes was quite a steep exhausting uphill, but I made it to the roundabout and the field I was aiming for!


Across the field, approaching the gate, the sky felt incredibly huge, the air fresh and the views were incredible! From the top of the hill towards Brighton seafront, the surrounding houses and south downs were surrounding me in every direction.


Across the field, approaching the gate, the sky felt incredibly huge, the air fresh and the views were incredible!

Once inside the allotment area, introductions began, and it was lovely to meet this group of interesting people of varying ages and experiences. Membership forms filled out, site rules read, then we were off for the site induction.

I couldn’t believe how large this community space is.


The site includes a social gathering hut, 2 large polytunnels, multiple planted beds, the fire pit and bbq area, the composting toilet, the bee zone, fruit tree orchard, the garden compost area, tool lockup and wood zone, and what would soon to be the kids play area and a new chicken zone.

In the polytunnels we started on clearing weeds and the dead physalis skeleton, compost was the spread over one section ready for new plantings soon.


There were a few bin bags with donated plastic shelving units which I took on as large challenge puzzle task, figuring out how they fit together, as there were 2 different sizes to assemble. These were then lined up in the polytunnel too, ready for moving new baby seedlings onto as they were sitting on the ground in the other poly tunnel and being destroyed by slugs or snails.


We stopped for an afternoon break, lunch, tea, and a great social/chat session getting to know the other volunteers and hearing many interesting stories.


Back in the polytunnel we finished off clearing, weeding and watering, packed up the tools, tidied the hut and just after 5pm we were done for the day, hopped on my bike to ride back to the centre of Brighton, and this ride was easy as it was downhill all the way, just what I needed after the busy, fun and physical day in the garden.

This was a lovely afternoon wondering around exploring what was growing in every corner of this allotment project, and definitely excited to return again and watch the development of the year.

 

Thanks for reading 🙂🌱 if you have any community gardening stories or experiences, we would love to hear from you!