Katesgrove Community Association (KCA) have joined up with Food4families to establish a community allotment at Waterloo Meadows. Work on the plot started in July and there has already been some produce to harvest.
The Whitley Pump went down to Waterloo Meadows to meet Seth from Food4families, as well as the group that were working on the plot that Saturday afternoon. Seth provides horticultural advice on growing vegetables; sustainability and environmental stewardship are an important part of this educational role and the allotment will be strictly organic. Seth stresses that the lead on what to grow should come from the community who are working on the allotment.
KCA committee member Abby Knowles explained the reasons for having the allotment:
Katesgrove is quite urban so it’s a really interesting idea to have an area where people can come and grow something when they might not have room in their gardens. It’s a nice space to come down to, make friends, build a sense of community and get involved with something.
Glen and his partner found out about the project through local councillor Rose Williams as they had been having trouble getting their own allotment.
Seth also has a community engagement role to inform people and get them interested in growing food and gardening in general.
Sessions are currently held on Saturday afternoons, but weekday afternoon get togethers are also planned which will be good news for people who are not available on Saturdays.
When the Whitley Pump visited, strawberry plants were being planted and it would soon be time to put in onion sets. Apart from that, Seth said:
We want to clear the plot really, digging a plot in the middle of summer is almost madness but we need to start getting things done. Ideally we’ll get a bit of wet weather and then come October it will be a bit easier to dig over and we can strim and clear the site.
I’d like to get some raspberry canes in this year as well.
We’re going to have a sit down in a pub for people who are really interested and produce a design. Until we do that, my plan was to establish four square beds and have a rotation system over four years.
To keep young children occupied while the adults are working on the vegetable plot, Seth can also organise tasks on the allotment such as watering and bug hunts.
Food4families describe themselves as:
… a community-based Reading project for local residents which aims to enable them to manage land in their own neighbourhoods for the sustainable growing of food for their own consumption, encourage healthier eating and lifestyle habits and develop understanding of the broader environmental, cultural and economic aspects of sustainable food production.
Sessions take place every Saturday afternoon from 1.30 pm to 4.30 pm at the Waterloo Meadows allotments.
You do not have to come for the whole afternoon if you only have limited time available. You should wear clothes and shoes that are suitable for gardening, but tools are provided.
If you are interested, then come along, or contact KCA by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Food 4 Families. The website includes information about current projects as well as resources with advice on growing your own food.
- Katesgrove Community Association – Facebook
- SouthCote GrowAllot
- Whitley GrowAllot
- Reading Borough Council Allotments