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Okehampton Community Garden
Who we are:
We aim to bring together members of the community to support and encourage gardening of all kinds, especially the growing of food. We will encourage the sharing and development of talents, to learn new skills and provide training for members and the wider community. We also aspire to provide a friendly meeting place and help integrate into the Okehampton Community Garden people who may be isolated within the wider community.
Our membership currently includes people from a wide range of ages and social and economic backgrounds. A key project aim is one of social integration and the garden is specifically set up to appeal to as wide a range of people from across Okehampton town and hamlets as possible. The construction of the site takes into account the differing needs of the young, the elderly, the disadvantaged and the disabled.
HogCO helped organise a public meeting in October 2011 where Okehampton United Charity floated the idea of a community garden. The meeting was well attended and following a second public meeting a core 'steering group' of people took the idea forward. Okehampton Community Garden (OCG) officially took on the lease of the site on 1st April 2012 from Okehampton United Charity for a peppercorn lease of £25 per annum during the first term of site occupation.
The group have been working extremely hard to raise the profile and support for the garden in the community, secure funding and materials and get all the necessary legal and logistical elements in place to get digging! HogCO arranged for the group to visit Chagfood and Bovey Community Garden to network and gain ideas for OCG and they have also made good links with other community projects in the area.
A wide strip of land was ploughed in the first week of the lease by the North and East Dartmoor Vintage Working Society and recently rotivated by Mr Vallance in exchange for a contribution for his olympic award. The first lot of manure was donated and delivered from Andy Ewen at Okehampton Glass and the bore hole was dug by Follaton Plant confirming a good supply of water to the site. Members of the steering group have been making a start with the first bed constructed and laid out and some plants sown. Aspects of the site have been pegged out, some tools and equipment have been purchased, a bank account opened and public liability insurance in place.
On June 13th Brigadier Rob Thomson visited the site prior to the arrival of 66 army officer cadets to assist with the construction of the community composting areas, raised beds and key growing areas. On 19th June Major General Tim Evans Commandant of the Royal Military Academy visited the site to look at the progress achieved by the cadets. The cadets learnt a number of new skills while on the tasks, suffered the awful weather well, were of good humour and very polite, were extremely helpful when ever asked to do things and were generally very much on task. OCG has also been supported by Prince's Trust volunteers (from the 'Team' programme), who helped with construction and built a structure for the centre of the new sensory garden. OCG has been well supported by businesses and members of the community who have generously donated recycling items for raising cash, facilitating meetings, provided chicken bedding (shredded paper), gardening equipment, a greenhouse and tools, seeds, chickens, manure, sawdust (for the compost loo), woodchip, planning and horticultural expertise and photocopying. OCG plan to acknowledge these generous gifts in a display sited on one end of the meeting shed.