We welcomed the students and tutors at the Octagon room, St Peters Church where Vanessa gave a short presentation on the two design charrettes we have held, the first on the Museum of St Albans Hatfield Road, now known as ‘Oak Tree Gardens’, followed by Civic Centre Opportunity Site. A walking tour with Chris Debenham followed.
As our Masterplanning design charrette concept plans for Civic Centre Opportunity Site were both landscape-led we were delighted that Janet Bruce Chair of FoodSmiles St Albans came and gave students an excellent talk on what they have achieved in the city centre and their two other sites in Harpenden and Hixberry Lane, St Albans.
Janet’s talk and the work of FoodSmiles and 'Incredible Edible' has such synergy with our work, we would like to share a piece Janet kindly wrote to further explain their projects.
“FoodSmiles St Albans is a Community Benefit Society, based in St Albans District, which aims to encourage people to grow and eat more sustainable local food through building a community of food-growers. They make local food and food-growing more accessible, bring our community together and provide a new source of local food for St Albans.
This Community Supported Agriculture scheme was launched on April 23rd 2014, on a small corner of an organic farm on the edge of nearby Harpenden. FoodSmiles grow a wide range of vegetables and have four polytunnels to help them grow all year round. It's a veg-box scheme with a difference: the 35 members pay a small annual fee and commit to a few hours working on the farm each month and share the produce in a weekly veg box. In spring 2017 FoodSmiles took on a second site, plot at the Community Development Agriculture garden in Hixberry Lane, St Albans.
Towards the end of 2017, FoodSmiles’ set up an 'Incredible Edible' community garden in St Albans and will soon be starting another nearby. These are open to all and it is hoped that these two gardens will bring local people together, provide free food for anyone who wants to take it, enhance the town centre, provide food and shelter for wildlife, teach and share growing skills and promote the benefits of growing-your-own.
Incredible Edible is a national network started in 2007 by a group that wanted a way that everyone could help improve both the look and feel of their own community. The answer was food. Everyone understands food. Food could get people talking; even better, it could inspire people to take action. Starting with small herb gardens and community plots, Incredible Edible went on to back campaigns, support businesses and back the creation of learning centres at the Incredible Aqua Garden and the Incredible Farm.
Each group differs, but with its simple membership criteria - there is something for everyone. The photos in http://incredibleediblenetwork.org.uk/resource/growth-incredible-edible-powerpoint-presentation show how community gardens can enhance a city.
INCREDIBLE EDIBLE ST ALBANS CIVIC CENTRE
This small garden will include a rich mix of berries, rhubarb, veggies and herbs, plus some edible flowers and some low maintenance perennial veggies you might not have seen before.”