, , , , , ,

GB Team: Working Together From The Ground Up


Sometimes an idea can be had by multiple people, all at the same time. The idea doesn’t have to be a new one, but if enough people have the idea at the same time, then it can be talked about, hypothesized about and the people can dream and talk some more and embellish the idea, well, for years really!

But if you throw a catalyst or two into the mix, say climate change, Brexit and Covid-19 (I know that’s three), then suddenly chance meetings, connections and conversations are had and before you know it the idea starts to come together.

At least that’s what happened with Grow Batheaston, on a bright March day, moments before the Government announced Lockdown, a shared idea born of a perceived need to be more self-reliant as a community was actualised.

It’s fairly safe to say that huge change has been forced upon us all. And perhaps not a moment too soon?

Think about it.

Something had to give at some point, right?

The climate is changing. We are, as a nation, heading into an uncertain future with a possible “no deal” Brexit which will bring its own challenges and opportunities, and now a global pandemic that promises years of recession (despite what the papers say), and the rest!

And if this is to be our reality and our children’s future, then surely we must act together to try to prepare for what is to come. And that, to us at Grow Batheaston, means sustainable, self-reliance through community food production, skill/knowledge sharing and the creation of a green and circular local economy, designed to support the poorer, more vulnerable members of the community, generate food security for all and build a strong community spirit.

It’s not a new idea but it is a timely one.

Local food production is key and what better ground to bring community together on than growing food together for ourselves and each other? So, how did we do it?

We got together once a week on WhatsApp and organised ourselves. We wrote letters to the relevant people in office at Bath and Northeast Somerset council (BANES), and Curo, a housing association which owns the majority of the land around where we live. We invited them and other groups such as Bathscape, 3SG and Blooming Whiteway to join us for structured outdoor meetings so they could see us, hear our ideas and perhaps offer guidance and support, which they did! We sourced funding from our local ward councilor for start-up costs and went ahead with our website and social media platforms.

As a result of all this activity we have been given permission to plant fruit and nut trees around Elmhurst and Catherine Way estates and we are in talks regarding the use of land on which to grow fruit and vegetables. And this is just the start!

Toby Gascoigne has spent the last 15 years working as an actor, both on stage and on the street. Covid-19 put an abrupt end to all of that, so he has become a community activist and is re-training in Permaculture. A passionate advocate for positive change and a green fingered food grower himself, Toby is a firm believer that community self-reliance is the way forward and lives in hope that Grow Batheaston might inspire other communities to do something to help themselves.

Main image: Seedlings grown by the Grow Batheaston team.

Recommended from Carbon Copy