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Regenerative Growth in Grouville

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

Grouville Community, Environment & Change have an exciting new project commencing 22nd July in collaboration with the Birdsong Garden. Its a regenerative project which nurtures our soil by recycling kitchen waste, sustainably manages garden water by harvesting rain, and teaches us permaculture to experiment with in our gardens. The project will improve physical health, mental health, nutrition, poverty, soil, education, and creativity. It will create a caring, sharing community where we help each other through the crises of our times. It will contribute towards the improvement the Islands social, environmental, and economic capital. It’s a project for the whole community. A project where we learn and grow together. Where the community apply their learning to their personal, business and work lives. This project will create grass roots sustainable change from the inside out.

The vision of the project is to create an inclusive gardening community which reconnects and learns through nature. The community will grow nutritious food, increase physical activity, improve mental well being, whilst learning and responding to our climate and biodiversity emergencies.

Members of the Grouville community will be invited to learn through a combination of workshops, facilitation, observing nature, experimenting, and collaboration. The group will support each other to enhance the soil in their gardens using regenerative principles of permaculture.

Attendees will slowly and naturally reconnect with nature, creating balance in themselves and in their gardens as they apply their learning.

The programme will commence on 22nd July at 2.30pm with a half day immersion in the Birdsong Garden, a well-established smallholding in St Ouen created in 2018 by Kate & Sébastien through permaculture. Following on from this the group will meet weekly for facilitated practical sessions, taking place in participants gardens. Each week participants will visit a different garden, learn from each other’s experiences and add to their skills base. As attendees gain more experience and confidence facilitation reduces and the community group continues to support itself, evolving with nature. Kate, Sébastien and the Birdsong Garden will be our permaculture mentors and inspiration through half day seasonal workshops and open access for questions and advice at any time.

In addition to plants, attendees will grow fruit and vegetables rich in nutrition, improving their mental health, physical health, and biodiversity in their gardens. The improved soil quality will support carbon draw down and the soils ability to hold water. The personal development gained through the connection to nature, facilitation and application to gardening encourages the development of creativity. Additionally, permaculture is well recognised within creative design disciplines in deepening creative practice and bringing a new ethical basis to projects, particularly in relation to ecology, natural systems and regenerative cultures. Permaculture is set of tools, based around the ethics of earth care, people care and fair share. Permaculture helps us to reconnect with the natural world and to create projects and work with a strong ethical, ecological and regenerative foundation.

The fundamentals that will be learned include: · Organic soil enhancement using woodchip, leaf mulch, homemade compost, horse manure, wormery, and compost tea. A nutrient rich soil is home to microorganisms, worms and insects which allow soil to hold water, draw down carbon and produce nutrient rich food. · Rainwater harvesting using water butts which is better for plants than treated water. · Pollinator patches which are vital for food production and biodiversity. · Perennial planting which have deeper roots than annuals bringing nutrients and water up into shallower parts of the soil, they provide ground cover and are easy to propagate. · Polyculture where a diverse range of crops are grown together to eliminate the use of chemical pesticides, enhance the soil and provide food security.

If you would like to participate in this project, register your interest here. Join the live and active conversation, which is shaping the project, on the Grouville Community, Environment & Change Facebook page.

The project is the short term element of a medium and longer term vision for Island wide small holdings, using the successful blueprint of, and in collaboration with GROW Jersey. Ideally each Parish will release a Clos des Pauvres field for its community smallholding. For further details read my interview with Caroline Spencer in the summer edition of Rural Magazine here.

The Parish of Grouville turned down our tender for a Clos des Pauvres field in February this year. However, we will continue our positive dialogue with the Connetable and Island wide Municipalities as we implement the medium and longer term aims of this project which align with and help to implement Government of Jersey policy.

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Jun 17, 2023

I read the entire piece as I try to grow veg organically. If the Connetable has decided against a specialist plot of land where do we go? Our connetable is strongly Conservative and of a farming family.

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We are starting the project by experiencing permaculture values and principles through workshops and facilitated application in our own gardens. An opportunity for a small holding will emerge through this year long process. I will keep the dialogue going with the Connétable as I hope you and project participants will also do.

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