Growing conversations and seed swaps

From 2010 – 2012 I led several projects and community events around themes of growing, permaculture and seed sharing.

‘Growing Together’ was a 15 month gardening project in collaboration with Ulverston Day Services, which primarily gave service users the opportunity to engage in gardening and creative activities in a community space. Neither myself or the participants were very experienced as gardeners, but working on the garden was a wonderful opportunity for us all to learn about growing things together.

‘The Come and Have a Go Show’ (Aug 2011) was a collaboration with artist Mary Stark. Inspired by our mutual fascination with country shows, we decided to hold our own  country show inspired event encouraging craft activities, growing your own vegetables and having a go at consuming less. Celebrating the mundane, the experimental and being brave enough to participate and ‘have a go’, at its basis this project celebrated creative acts in the everyday and explored themes of ‘graded’ fruit and veg, and growing your own.

Following on from this, ‘The British Potato Variety Show’ (Sept 2011) was a stall at Egremont Crab Fair offering people the chance to make a potato person using names of rare potato varieties. Commissioned by AND Festival, this craft activity was a vehicle to stimulate conversations with people about the homogenisation of fruit and vegetable varieties by large supermarkets.

‘The Cheap and Arty Garden Party’ (May 2012) was an event at Lanternhouse celebrating gardening and allotments through creative activities and workshops, and a community seed swap. The event was designed to encourage conversation and dialogue around these topics, and touched upon the principles of permaculture. This was followed by ‘Super Surplus Sunday’ (August 2012), a produce swapping event and with garden themed arts and crafts to appeal to all ages. At both of these events people were given the opportunity to share their gardening knowledge in the hope that new supportive relationships would develop between experienced growers and those who wanted to begin to grow their own food.