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Formby Edible Gardens Project Comes to an End

After nine years the Formby Edible Garden Project has reluctantly being brought to an end.

Recently the project team were informed by phone that the Swimming Pool Trust have other plans for the small space that has housed the project for the last nine years. The team are now winding up the project and moving some of the fruit trees to other homes.

The project began nearly ten years ago. Inspired by the Transition Town Movement which was sweeping the UK and the world,

One of the many objectives of that movement included:

  • To get to know their neighbours;
  • To feel like they are making a difference in the world;
  • Because the world’s huge challenges (climate change, social inequality, economic decline and so on) feel more manageable if addressed at the local scale (as one person put it, “Transition changed my relationship to the problems”);
  • To catalyse all manner of new projects, enterprises and investment opportunities;
  • To learn new skills;
  • To feel like they are creating a new story for their place;
  • To feel connected to other people and to something historic and exciting happening around them;
  • Because they feel it is “the right thing to do”.

We were also intrigued, and still are by the phenomenal success of the Incredible Edible Todmorden Project. They grow fruit, herbs and vegetables around Todmorden in assorted containers and spaces that are for everyone to share. They also run a wide range of events that help strengthen the local community. 
Last year they conducted 60 tours for over 1,000 visitors (who shopped in town). They describe themselves in the following way:

We are passionate people working together for a world where all share responsibility for the future wellbeing of our planet and ourselves.
We aim to provide access to good local food for all, through
• working together
• learning – from cradle to grave
• supporting local business  (Source: https://www.incredible-edible-todmorden.co.uk/)

Sadly we never achieved the same scale or effect of the Todmorden team, perhaps confining ourselves to the small enclosed garden helped to obscure the Formby Project. Nonetheless, the remaining enthusiastic team members are proud of our efforts.

We gave ourselves an ambitious target and the length of the project is a testimony to our commitment and the strong friendships we developed and continue to hold.

Formby Edible Gardens is a collaborative project involving local residents in Formby working for a more sustainable future. The project seeks to increase the general resilience of Formby given Peak Oil, Climate Change and Food Security........

A demonstration plot will provide examples of small-scale but efficient ways of growing food in a small space. It will provide advice and support for local and other residents who want to grow food in their own gardens. It hopes to establish small neighbourhood groups throughout Formby to promote food growing Finally it intends to stimulate an increased awareness of the benefits of healthy eating and to promote local food production and consumption. (Source: https://www.formbyfirst.org.uk/edible-gardens-project.html)

Some of the plants and the garden infrastructure will be reused. The fruit trees have gone to The Bridge Inn Community Farm, they write:

We provide training and real life work experience in horticulture, agriculture and care of animals. The farm gives people a real working environment to care for friendly animals, grow crops and be part of a great team.....

The farm is now home to a variety of gardens featuring shrubs, herbs, trees, vegetable patches, fruits and ponds. We have a Japanese garden and tea house, which is beautifully manicured, with an ornamental pond.

They welcome visitors and we've always enjoyed meeting them and watching the continuing success of their project, they are the team that manages the Formby Station vegetable growing containers.

As to our recently constructed compost container, arrangements are in hand to transfer it to the small garden in the grounds of Formby Library.

So after many happy hours of pottering, planting, planning, seed swaps days, open days and talking to visitors we draw it to an end,

My thanks to everyone who participated it was quite a number of volunteers over the life of the project, but my very special thanks go to Sheila and John, constant members, both fellow Brummies who unfailing supported the project.

In John's case, a weekly return trip from Southport over the length of the project is a measure of his enthusiasm.