Gardening, planting, bee keeping, seed swapping, learning to keep chickens; if any of these sound right up your street, read on as this week Inksplott met with Jonathan Mcloughlin, Chair of local environmental and gardening group, Edible Adamsdown.
Inksplott: Hi Jonathan, thank you for being interviewed for Inksplott. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your group?
Jonathan: Edible Adamsdown is a group that looks after the community garden behind Adamsdown Resource Centre on Moira Terrace we also do environmental projects in and around Splott and Adamsdown. The garden was established around fifteen years ago by a group called Adamsdown Environmental Action. Unfortunately that group no longer exists but a couple of years ago a few of us locals got together to set up the garden again and, as a result, set up Edible Adamsdown, which is a community group run by volunteers.
When we started, we tried to make sure that the garden was open every Sunday afternoon the garden would be open. In the summer we open the garden more often maybe an afternoon or evening in the week. We always post in advance on Facebook when the garden is going to be open. We try and make sure it’s at least once a week, but it can be tricky with access through the building.
We try to have other things going on as well as the gardening like workshops and family days. We’ve had workshops previously, which were a big hit, and have new ones coming up, like the chicken keeping and bee keeping on the 5th and 19th of March respectively between 3pm and 5pm in the community garden.
We are also working with Ysgol Glan Morfa, doing a chick hatching workshop with the children, which ties in with the chicken keeping workshop for the parents and adults.
We have also expanded to try and do other things in the community, like planting wild flowers in Anderson Field and planting a community heritage orchard at the community allotment in Tremorfa, both of which we did last year.
Inksplott: How did you get into this? Can you please tell us a little about the history of your group and how you became involved?
Jonathan: In my day job I work for Communities First in Merthyr and have been involved in community and environmental activity for a long time through my work. I wanted to make things happen in my own community; to make it a interesting and great place to live in and generate opportunities for people to get involved and be a part of their community. My passion is environment and outdoors, hence Edible Adamsdown.
I get annoyed because other parts of Cardiff seem to have so much going on and we apparently don’t but we have amazing people who are passionate and with interesting sills and interests living here and why not have it here in Adamsdown and Splott. I believe in taking action rather than just sitting back and complaining.
I knew about the garden for a long time and wanted to get involved. The group running it came to an end and STAR Communities First said they would try and organise and initiative to get the garden up and running. They worked with Green City Events to start it up again and off the back of that action, Edible Adamsdown was set up. We got a constitution and a bank account and started opening up the garden and running events.
There are around ten core members in the group who come and do the regular activities like weeding (exciting!) and picking up slugs!
We want to give advice and support to people doing their own environmental or gardening projects, If people want to find out more, the best thing to do is pop along to one of our gardening sessions, which are always advertised on Facebook in advance. If people just want to meet up for a chat then they should drop us a message and we’ll arrange something.
Inksplott: And how come the group is in Adamsdown?
Jonathan: Our remit is Adamsdown, Splott, Roath and Tremorfa (the STAR cluster). We all live local and the garden that we wanted to use was already there.
Inksplott: What’s your speciality? Why should people join your group?
Jonathan: The group is about people who love the environment, gardening, nature, have an interest in food and want to be involved in the local community. For people who are interested in learning about those things, we share knowledge in a gentle way. We put on workshops and courses which are free or cost very little to attend. Attending is also a really nice way of discovering what else is going on in the local area from other members. The events are family friendly – children are welcome to come along. If people want to have an idea for a project that’s environmental based, we can help them try and make the project happen. Like planting, wild flowers. We can help!
Inksplott: What’s your best story since setting up the group?
Jonathan: So far, we’ve had family days in the garden, we’ve already had chicken keeping workshops, composting & garden design workshops. We did a project called Wild Adamsdown which we linked with the Unknown Theatre Company, a theatre group for young amateurs between 12 and 25 years old. We got some funding from Kew Gardens to do a project about raising people’s awareness about pollination and wild flowers. We used theatre to make it engaging and explore the issues. We put on a show that the young people researched and came up with involving acting, dance, singing. The audience’s journey started in Cemetery Park and they were led to Adamsdown Square and Anderson field where magical pieces of theatre, dance and song randomly appeared in the green spaces and ending up in the community garden where everyone had refreshments and local musicians playing in the willow arbour. A real eclectic and diverse mix of people came along. People loved discovering the green spaces in the area and learning about why there areas are important though the theatre the young people created. It was a really lovely highlight.
Inksplott: Tell us a secret or something about Splott that we won’t know.
Jonathan: Apart from the garden, which is quite a secret garden? If you don’t already know about it, you would miss it completely as it’s behind the buildings. There are lots of little corners in this area that people don’t necessarily see or notice. For example there is a patch of crocuses in Adamsdown square that people may not notice. There are little of patches of beauty everywhere, like the daffodils in Adamsdown fields, that are secret!
We are doing a guerrilla gardening project where we are planting fruit trees and bushes in random green nooks and crannies around the community – if you look carefully enough you might find gooseberries and pears growing in unexpected places in the autumn.
Inksplott: Any exciting plans or events on the horizon?
Jonathan: This Sunday we’re hosting a Bee keeping workshop in the secret garden. There’s a Facebook page where people can say if they’re coming. Attendees will have an opportunity to dress up in the bee keepers’ outfit and use the smoke gun. That should be good fun. Hannah from Cackle and Swarm will be running the workshop and I’ll be making bird seed cakes with the children in the garden. There will also be lots of lovely refreshments and treats from Nata Portuguese Bakery for people to enjoy. It costs a donation of your choice or one time credit (and is free to children).
All the chicken keeping advice you need for happy hens at home or at school, plus chick hatching live and bee keeping adventures!
We will have lots of workshops coming up such as urban chicken keeping, how to make Elderflower Champagne, natural pest control along with garden family fun days. Keep a look out.
Inksplott: That’s great – thank you so much for the interview!
To contact Edible Adamsdown, email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the Facebook page