In 2019 I applied for a micro grant through Kirkstall Valley Grants. This was my first time engaging with any type of grant scheme and it was very accessible to apply for and the grant ceremony workshop was helpful for making connections and developing ideas.
I had already started using my own money to plant bulbs and fruit trees into the verges but with the money, I was able to ask neighbours what sort of fruit tree would they like to host on their verge and so the Garden of Eden community was born.
Fruit trees not only take carbon out of the air (thereby helping to slow down global warming), they produce food which I knew would be important for food security should the climate crisis continue as predicted (which it has).
Of course we now also have the cost of living crisis, so being able to grow our own food has lots of benefits. The various fruit trees also brought biodiversity with them as we planted apple, cherry, apricot, peach and walnut trees.
We are very excited to have what looks like a good crop of fruit this year now that the trees are more established.
This initial planting of trees and bulbs led onto planting a wildflower corridor on the verges and giant sunflowers, which were brilliant for wildlife and made people smile.
Managing the Garden of Eden means that I’m out on the street a lot and speak to neighbours from all round the street when they pass. This made forming a WhatsApp group for the neighbourhood during Covid lockdowns a very organic thing because I already knew so many people from chatting to them when I was out watering or planting.
I continue to try and raise awareness of the climate crisis and the role communities can play in helping each other get to net zero carbon by 2030. If you have a great idea for a community and climate project, I can recommend this grant as a catalyst to get your project off the ground.
Blog by Grace (@sparkingcommunity)