At the beginning of Spring 2020, life as we knew it changed quite dramatically for everyone due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here at Better Start Bradford, we have been incredibly proud of how our family of projects and partners have come together to continue to offer support to families in need through a variety of new and creative ways to align with the rules that we have all been bound by during the pandemic.
Earlier this year Growing Together Bradford, a partnership between Horton Community Farm and Grow to School were planning a whole host of events and workshops to get young families across Bradford Moor, Bowling and Barkerend and Little Horton growing fruit and veg together. Growing Together Bradford is funded through Better Start Bradford’s Innovation Fund.
Due to COVID-19 these activities had to be shelved, however the project did not! Charley Gray and Ama Chaney were not going to let a pandemic stop them spreading and sharing their love of growing. In this blog Charley and Ama share how through lockdown they have successfully helped hundreds of families to grow together.
Growing Together’s blog
We were so thrilled when we found out that we had been awarded £30,200 to bring parents, carers and young children together to learn how to grow their own produce at the Horton Community Farm site, SHINE at St Stephen’s, Chas St Vincent’s and the Canterbury Centre.
Then COVID-19 happened. So we had to rethink how we could share all the fun and excitement of sowing, growing and eating fresh produce with families through lockdown. We had to adapt the start of the project to suit the circumstances and to enable families to grow things easily from home.
Over the last few months, we have successfully delivered over 600 seed parcels to families and individuals in the area, encouraging people to grow at home on their windowsills and in their yards and gardens. Families have been offered fortnightly seeds and plug plants to help get their gardens growing with vegetables, herbs, flowers and strawberries. We also set up to demonstration beds in two growing spaces at Horton Community Farm and SHINE West Bowling in preparation for face to face growing activities.
We also posted videos online and uploaded information sheets to our new Growing Together Bradford Facebook site to show families how to grow their own produce and also for them to share what they have grown in the group. It has been so wonderful to see that the community growing together and sharing their efforts and photos on social media.
Over 14 weeks we have shared a total of 624 growing packs (264 for planting in gardens and containers and 360 for windowsills inside or out for those with no or little garden space) with families through five community hubs including Horton Community Farm, Shine, Community works, Parkside and the Anchor Project. In addition, we have given away 419 plant pots and 900 litres of compost to support families to grow together at home during lockdown.
We are currently planning how we can continue to offer support around growing throughout autumn and winter as there is still plenty that can be done. Watch this space to see what comes next!
About Growing Together
Growing Together is a partnership between Horton Community Farm and Grow to School, Growing Together Bradford will share knowledge and skills around food growing, simple cooking and eating using the produce grown and exploring and engaging with nature.
Led by experienced practitioners, the sessions will give families with 0-3s:
- An opportunity to grow and share a love of fruit and vegetables.
- Skills and confidence to grow their own produce at home.
- The chance to explore & engage with nature
- A free community space for growing.
- The opportunity to make healthy food & snacks together using different fruit and vegetables grown