Luton residents are taking to the street to create new community gardens around the town. As part of the Luton Food Plan, a network of organisations and community groups have been developing publicly accessible garden sites and growing fruit, vegetables and bee-friendly plants.
Following the successes of gardening projects run by groups like Groundwork, Penrose Roots and Edible High Town, there are new public gardens beginning to plant their first crops in Warwick Rd in Bury Park, Turner’s Knoll in Round Green and at the Ameina Education Centre in Limbury. There are also plans to develop some other sites around town including a site in Bristol Road.
These gardens depend on local people getting involved in planting, maintaining and harvesting the produce, which is all distributed among the local community.
Gill Berg, a local resident who volunteers with Edible High Town said: “We have taken on about six small plots now around High Town where most of them had previously attracted litter and fly-tipping. Now we grow all sorts, from curry plants to cabbages. There’s something special about seeing someone’s face light up as they dig up potatoes from just outside their house that they are planning to cook for dinner that night.
“I know many of the people who live around here now and many of them stop to chat, say hi and pick up some fruit or veg when they pass. It’s also been fun learning together and swapping ideas for what to do with chard, kale or artichokes! People of all ages and backgrounds constantly comment on the difference it makes to the area.”
We know that gardening can increase life satisfaction, well-being, a sense of community, and even cognitive functions as well as reduce stress, anger, fatigue, depression and anxiety symptoms.
With the soon-to-be-announced implementation of the ‘Garden the Town’ scheme, the hope is that more of the community gardens will take shape to grow food. If you’d like to get involved, click here https://edibleluton.org/garden-the-town/