It's been three months since Cultivate Central launched The Good Garden! So I'm taking a moment to take stock and share our upcoming plans.
We've been busy. We've cooked six compost heaps, we are slowly getting a hang of managing long-term resident ants and termites (which is why we've had to make many site-specific changes to how we compost)... but more on that another day. The worms are happy, plants are thriving, the soil we created has shown results and garden elements have settled in. We've plenty to learn and grow from but so far the garden has provided us with brinjals, okras, chillies, microgreens almost every other week, an endless supply of herbs an array of local and Mediterranean herbs, some edible flowers from butterfly pea and oxalis plants and much more.
I've always maintained that we are average gardeners. But our biggest strength is our ability to help create special experiences for children, inspired by food gardens as a learning resource. While we do a harvest jiggle everytime the garden nourishes us with food. Our passion is fueled by the "yield" we get from working with children (at least 450 children have participated in workshops since July 2017), parents and teachers who come to experience our workshops, observe nature, express themselves and give time and thought to what it means to help something grow.
They've overcome being squirmish while observing our worms, learnt to be gentle and kind to these underground creatures and although they almost always say "EEEEEEEWWWWWW, Yuck!" when we speak about worm poo, they participate enthusiastically and soak in ideas and possible solutions for food waste. With some persuasion, they always get their hands dirty in soil. They notice the plants and flowers they can grow in small spaces. And they've expressed themselves creatively at the Good Garden.
For us, this "yield" goes beyond gardening or growing food in small urban spaces. The educational, social and cultural yield is what a Permaculture food garden is truly about. Productive spaces that connect communities to culture, patterns, people, solutions and the environment. A way of thinking and design towards living in harmony with the earth. Helping us work with nature instead of against - on a daily basis in multiple ways.
Now that the setup phase of the garden is over, in September we felt ready to embark on our larger mission at The Good Garden - a mission Beyond Gardening. To bring together an intersection of different disciplines connecting children, parents, educators, change-makers and creators together.
Beyond Gardening is a programme that takes place once a month at The Artground (last Saturday of the month). Cultivate Central runs this programme inspired by The Good Garden and connects you and your child to artists and skilful makers.
With a back to basics approach, these hands-on workshops allow you to experiment, create and test out ideas and DIY projects that encourage a more creative sustainable urban lifestyle. Workshops are open to both children and adults.
We created Beyond Gardening to give you and your child time to go back to basics. A space and opportunity to observe, create and make conscious connections about how things work around us. Especially in a time when many things and solutions are literally shipped and handed to us. Don't get me wrong, technology and the tremendous progress we've made because of it isn't bad at all. In fact, we believe it is an enabler. But going back to basics in creative ways and experiencing the simple gift of making something with a child is a memorable playful journey. One that can transport us to the origin of ideas, nature's technology, push us to be curious and look at things differently together.
Plus it gives our children a chance to show and share..."Hey, I made this with my mum and dad, and I want to create more!".
So, come be a part of this with a child or without. Follow us (cultivate_c) on Instagram or look out for our Beyond Gardening workshops at The Artground, every last Saturday of the month. We will bring you a different theme every month. Register here for this month's Beyond Gardening experience at The Good Garden.