- Food production
- Social impact
- Community cohesion
At Anton House there are 55 flats, all of which overlook a central courtyard area or front garden area; so every person could be positively impacted by this project even if they choose not to get involved (in the beginning), as the visual impact alone will improve their view. As those people witnessed the change it was hoped more and more residents would be drawn into getting involved.
The internal courtyard gardens cover quite an extensive area and by its very nature it’s sheltered from wind and will provide a wonderful space to create extensive community facilities. It was originally “low maintenance” bark chippings and small evergreen shrubs. The front gardens were similar, with several mature trees sadly dying.
We proposed to help residents create a real community garden complex, with areas for seating and for children to play combined with features for wildlife conservation, biodiversity enhancement and education. The food-producing kitchen garden areas connect all the features as the key focus, helping residents grow fresh nutritious food.
The front gardens originally looked rather sad, neglected and uninspiring for residents and passers-by, with rubbish blowing off the streets and settling amongst the bark chip and more small evergreen shrubs. To help residents feel proud and positive about their home we helped them create a sensory garden, rich in perennial plants which will self-seed each year and create a blast of colour and scent. Amongst these plants we demonstrated how to intersperse food producing climbers, such as runner-beans with herbs.
Although this disconnected community was originally challenging to draw into the project, they did engage with us and the staff at Suffolk Housing, and the grounds were transformed as the project grew. More residents got to know each other and children began to play with each other in their new internal gardens, which has created a socially cohesive, nature-rich, food-producing garden for all to enjoy.
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