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08 February 2024

Grow Food not Grass – A Community Garden Project for Bemerton Heath

Grow Food Not Grass is a project that aims to transform unused grass and green spaces around Bemerton Heath in Salisbury into small community gardens that produce organic food. The project hopes to bring both physical and mental benefits to the local community by providing healthy food, engaging residents, creating green spaces, and educating people about nutrition and self-sufficiency.

The project was initiated by Adele from Wiltshire Council and Garian a local resident, who met with Josh Rogers, the Business Development and Community Engagement Officer for Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, in June 2023. They showed him the plan and idverde agreed to help fund the first area by supplying shrubs, resources, and trees. idverde is the UK and Europe’s leading provider of grounds maintenance and landscape creation services, currently working with Wiltshire County Council, and together they all agreed to meet again in July to discuss the progress and the next steps.

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Working in partnership with

On January 15th and 16th, 2024, a group of volunteers came together to install the new community garden on Pinewood Way in Bemerton Heath. The garden is a result of nearly 12 months of planning, fundraising, and obtaining permissions from various Wiltshire and Salisbury Council departments. The project was supported by generous donations from Travis Perkins (sleepers) and Hills Recycling (compost).

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The Pinewood Way Garden was designed to provide a local green space for Bemerton residents, where they can learn new skills, grow organic produce, and enjoy their wonderful park. The garden consists of several raised planter beds, filled with a mixture of topsoil, compost, and manure. The beds are accessible for wheelchair users and can accommodate a variety of vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, and fruit.

The volunteers worked hard over two cold but dry days, starting with the installation of a shelter and the marking of the work area. They then unloaded and placed the sleepers to form the base of the planters, followed by laying cardboard to prevent weeds.

After a well-deserved break with hot drinks and snacks, they continued with fixing the planters together and filling them with the planting medium. The volunteers showed great teamwork and enthusiasm throughout the process. The community garden is a pilot site that could inspire other similar projects around Bemerton Heath. The project organisers hope that the garden will bring physical and mental benefits to the local community, as well as educate and involve them in healthier living, nutrition, and self-sufficiency.

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Paul Ashman, idverde’s Community Engagement Manager for Wiltshire Council, said: “We were happy to provide our assistance and financial backing for the Bemerton Heath Pinewood Park Community Garden project, which aims to grow food instead of grass. This project has been in the planning stages for a long time and it was wonderful to witness the results after two days of work on site.”
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