Our previous blog post describes Growing Community Part 1 – and to recap in the last week of July our long-planned collaboration between Ravenstone School and Tooting Community Garden offered two interlinked local ‘Growing Community in the Heart of the City’ workshops as part of The Mayor of London’s National Park City Festival

The common green thread running through both events was celebrating city growing and the outdoors, creating an environment which is good for ourselves, for the community and for nature.

Blog post Part 1 describes the Ravenstone School event on July 22.
Here we’re sharing what we did together in the second of the two events, the Tooting Community Garden open day on July 28th.

The garden team of a dozen volunteers met early (no Sunday lie-ins) to put up signs, hang our TTT bunting, set up activities and then provide a warm welcome and an invitation to join in the day in any way people wished. We wanted to demonstrate that being outdoors together is accessible and enjoyable.

Over 80 people came along on a Sunday with an on-off forecast for rain. We decided to not put up gazebos, and we were all rewarded with a lovely afternoon.

The welcome table gave a focus for saying hello and having a chance to talk with visitors who either explored the garden, relaxed or joined one of our fun and practical activity workshops:

1. Creating vertical wall planters with Paul: sharing environmental, DIY, creativity and urban growing benefits.

2. Being guided by Sharon to select plants and re-purposed containers to take home – building growing skills and wellbeing.

3. Joining Jane’s ‘Drawn to Nature’ drawing workshop: enjoying taking time to observe and be present, with wellbeing and drawing practice benefits.

4. Annie’s creative workshops in the family zone: sharing benefits of creating together in unusual ways across generations or with people new to you and learning fun techniques to take home.

Feedback from visitors included:
‘A lovely place, and lovely people’ ‘A lovely celebration of nature and community spirit’ ‘The day was beautiful, well thought-out and sustainable’ ‘A nice peaceful day and a great community feel’ ‘Loved the community feeling and how positive and welcoming everyone has been’ ‘What a lovely garden, and such friendly people. We’ll be back’

Our own responses to the day?
It was very affirming for the Community Garden team to welcome so many people who enjoyed what we offered together. Sundays in the Garden are fun and informal, and it was a good challenge to do something different, facilitating an engaging and outward-looking day.
Plus, it was our 8th birthday as a garden project since being generously offered use of the land by Naseem Aboobaker.  

Many volunteers have opened the Garden space on over 400 Sundays. 
That’s worth celebrating!

Thanks to all the volunteers: Amanda, Annie, Chuck, Deb, Jane, Kay, Keith, Paul, Ryan, Sharon & Tom. A big shout out to our new friends and qualified first aiders Alice & Charlie who joined us on the day to provide that cover – thankfully they had no cause to leap into action. Kudos to photographer Bryony Williams for images used here (plus more for another time) and to Kay and Chuck for other pictures in this blog.

Everyone is welcome to join us at the Community Garden every Sunday from 11:00 to 1:00 (sometimes later into the afternoon). No experience necessary and we share any updates or changes on our Tooting Community Garden Facebook and Instagram pages.

The annual Tooting Foodival – our twelfth! – is TTT’s next big community event! It’s taking place on Saturday 14th September and we hope to see you there – it’s going to be great!