The ‘Lockdown Growers’ of Riverside in the age of Pandemic
Stroll around the streets of South Riverside and you may notice some small changes that are taking place in the fronts of houses. More plants in pots Large medium and small. Baskets hanging on front railings full of brightly coloured flowers. A few large planters in unfamiliar settings.
Although the impact has gone unnoticed by occasional visitors to the area; ‘locals’, walking back and fore will have registered the impact that ‘The Lockdown Growers’ of Riverside have had, by getting their hands dirty with the ‘Growing Together Project’ run by Riverside Community Centre (SRCDC.)
Project Leader Louise Gray has been amazed at how the project has caught the imagination of so many people young and old. “You just have to look at the faces on the photos we’ve taken to see how pleased and enthusiastic the response has been” she observes. “Back last August 70 families came along to create hanging baskets as part of the Riverside Festival. Undeterred by torrential rain, local growers received prizes from the very tall and delighted Lord Mayor, Daniel De’arth for their home grown veg displays.”
“With a Give-Away each month between August and October we have been able to encourage and engage local residents in a meaningful and very productive learning experience as many of the participants are ‘first time growers ” Louise explains. “In short: how to grow; not just pretty flowers to lift your spirits through the Lockdowns; but also food to save money and improve diets with home grown veg through the spring and summer plus! salad throughout the winter! In October, over 100 local growers came along to collect winter veg on World Food Day.”
Global Knowledge meets household needs all year around
Whilst the Growing Together Project has encouraged many households to get growing at home for the first time, it has also benefited from the skills of experienced local growers. Adapting growing knowledge from around the world, people are growing exotic fruit and veg to conditions in Wales. Here Laxshmee (born in India lived in Riverside for 30 years) explains how coriander and chilli can be grown the whole year round.