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Driven up the Wall: intoBodmin Plans to Take Action!

22nd November 2021

Hidden in a secluded corner of Bodmin, a community garden is about to undergo a fantastic transformation this winter.

intoBodmin is an inspirational community outreach company whose whole purpose is to spark creativity, fun and learning in Bodmin. Fin Irwin and the other founders help bring the community together through cultural activities and opportunities like theatre, music, arts and crafts.

Their garden is situated at the back of their small-scale arts and community space which they set up in the Old Library building on Bodmin Fore Street. A cosy and welcoming space, it’s already enjoyed in the warmer weather by customers of the centre’s café.

But the team have bigger plans for this growing sanctuary.

They teamed up with designer and urban-farming expert, Robbie Pearce, and Sarah Horne whose gardening expertise has been invaluable to the Bodmin Tidy Up Team (fondly known as the Bluetits). The plan is to create a working vegetable and fruit garden; the produce of which will keep the café stocked with healthy, organic goodies year-round. Workshops will be held to up-skill volunteers and create opportunities for people to learn more about the agricultural and hospitality industries.

 

One of the main features of the new garden is a modular vertical garden. Robbie has designed a planter that he’s named a “hex-box”. These very fancy pieces of kit provide everything the plants will need to grow happily including light, nutrients and water. It’s a neat set-up that looks good too.

The vertical design means that volunteers can grow herbs, salads and other seedlings without taking up any of the limited floor space.

But, the project caught the special attention of our Water Saving Community Fund judges because, when assembled, the boxes create an aquaponics system.

What does that mean?

The vertical design means that volunteers can grow herbs, salads and other seedlings without taking up any of the limited floor space.

But, the project caught the special attention of our Water Saving Community Fund judges because, when assembled, the boxes create an aquaponics system.

What does that mean?

Simply, that when put together, the boxes create a circular, self-watering system. Rainwater is collected from roofs into tanks. Water from these tanks is then gravity-fed through each of the hex-boxes and gathers in a collection tank positioned underground. This tank has a pump which recycles the water up through the system to start all over again. Usually, these systems include fish whose waste is used to fertilise the plants, but not in this case. The team plans to use waste from the café and garden instead, to create a fertiliser that they will add manually.

Fin heard about our Water Saving Community Fund through the Cornwall Volunteering Sector Forum. When he applied, we were very excited to provide the funding for this innovative installation.

There is a lot of work to be done, but now that the garden has died back for winter, the team can begin its transformation.

They’ll start by moving the raised beds from their current location. Once the area is cleared, they can begin on the groundworks – burying the collection tank and levelling off the site to increase its accessibility. They will then reinstate the raised beds and install the hex-boxes.

They certainly have quite a lot to do!

 

The group’s vision is for the garden to grow into a real hub of activity that brings people of all backgrounds together. Sarah is really looking forward to designing the planting and getting community members involved. “We hope these boxes will work as a nursery of baby plants that we can use in the raised beds, and also trade or sell to other community projects in the area,” she explained. One such project that was close to her heart is the Bluetits community flower beds. Plants from the garden will hopefully contribute to “pick your own” areas within these beds, where people can come and take whatever herbs or salads they need, for free.

We will be following Fin, Robbie and Sarah’s progress over the next few months, and can’t wait to see this dream become a reality.

For further information please contact:

Find out more about the Water Saving Community Fund, our top tips to save water, and our free water-saving goodies here.