Late Summer Round-Up! (Part 1)
Wow, what a Summer we've had! So many awesome projects on the go that we've barely had time to tell you all about them!
So here - at last - is a photo round-up of our Summer highlights. Part 1, at least.
We hope you'll be inspired by the dedication of all the MindFooders who have helped us grow young plants to share, made our sites so welcoming to new friends, and created a gorgeous space for both a MindFood mini film...and a generous donation of 18 raised beds. More of which in Part 2, coming up next week.
As ever, we couldn't have done it without YOU! 🤗 🙌
Make-Over Continues...with a new Pergola!
As we emerged from lockdown in May, and the Cleveley grapevines started to bud up, we knew had a brief window of opportunity to build our new pergola. Ciaran (MindFood's Founder & Fundraiser) and his Dad got to grips with preparing the foundations for the frame, while other handy MindFooders (like Narciza, here) exercised their power drill skills.
We were so pleased with the final result, and proud to mount a memorial plaque to remember one generous donor's family who lived in Cleveley Crescent and even grew veg at the allotments.
By June we had literally hundreds of young veg plants to donate as part of the 'Grow Some Share Some' project we started in lockdown. We had asked members of the MindFood family to grow seedlings at home so that we could share them with local schools, community groups and charities. MindFooders like Carol and Cathy (pictured below) then helped us pot everything on, and many others tended to them at both our sites so that we were ready for the big giveaway.
We were able to deliver plants (and MindFood leaflets!) to 10 local primary schools across the borough, from Greenford to East Acton, and from Southall to Northolt. We also donated plants to 3 SEND schools (Mandeville, Springhallow Post 16, and Castlebar), and to Ealing Alternative Provision for young people who are unable to follow their education in a mainstream setting. The final pic shows donations to Springhallow as they prepared to plant a whole new veg garden. Our contribution was actually just a drop in the ocean, but it was wonderful to behold such a sea of kindness and generosity!!🤗
At Mandeville School And Springhallow Post 16
Our plants also helped us to make new connections with local charities: GOS&D (Golden Opportunities Skills & Development), Southall Black Sisters, and Acacia in Hounslow. A grant from the London Community Response Fund allowed us to tailor our offer to each of the 3 groups through the Summer months, so that we could support them in the ways they felt would be most beneficial to their members. And of course, everyone received plenty of free seeds, seedlings, plants and potting compost along the way!
We called our programme 'Grow Social', and it offered a mix of online sessions to chat about nature, food-growing and wellbeing techniques; fun and informal gardening sessions on site; and even a picnic at Kew. Acacia chose to convert a paved front garden into a veg garden, as a welcoming place for members of the local Somali community to learn about food-growing and the importance of self care. We'll be keeping up with everyone's efforts as we head into Autumn!
A Summer of Abundance!
As you might expect, we've made plenty of time to enjoy the fruits of our labours, with lots of tasty discoveries: germidour garlic (pictured with Leila), radish pods, giant yellow patty pans and green peppers, the occasional blemish-free loquat, giant sweet genovese basil, delicious javelin new potatoes (seen here with Suzana), gorgeous gooseberries and some awesome Angel's Trumpets (not for eating!).
And members of the MindFood community found considerable growing success at home too.
Below, you can see Danielle's first beetroot, Anne-Marie's courgette-fest and rapidly ripening grapes, Heather's second crop of cucumbers (with a 3rd on the way...), Farah's golden chillis, Theresa's Grenadan big thyme (the discovery of the season!), Irene's first-ever aubergines, Sarah's elegant time (and original artwork*) Joseph's Lucha Libre tomato (felt-tip not model's own).
*check out Sarah Edwards at Ealing's BEAT art trail this weekend and next...
Getting ready for our close-up
In July it was all hands on deck, getting Cleveley ready for our Media Trust mini film.
We were awarded a professional film director & crew to make a 2-minute film to illustrate the benefits of coming to MindFood. We don't think of ourselves as competitive gardeners but we certainly wanted to look our best! While we focused on tidying up our raised beds, we had extra help from the team at Greener Ealing, who covered all the paths with several tonnes of bark chippings and tidied up our (edible!) hedge perimeter.
On the big day, we had MindFood extras to bring our work to life - you can see we made quite a day of it! Lucy's acting debut will remain under wraps until the film is ready in November...let's just say, she won't be giving up the day job 🤣
The film director, Claire Norowzian, has kindly shared a glimpse of the action. The view is from a crack in the pavement...
This epic newsletter concludes next week, but in the meantime we'd like to make a request for your support. All charities are carrying the burden of systemic inadequacies in social and mental health care provision, in an environment when local authorities spending is already under immense pressure. This not only puts us in a vulnerable position, but also the communities we serve.
You can help us to continue Growing Wellbeing As you can see, MindFood are a small local charity that are making a big difference to support the mental health of our community through nature-based courses. We know that the pandemic has resulted in more people experiencing depression and anxiety and we're here to help.
We rely on donations and grants to offer our courses for free. Here are 3 ways you could support us today to continue growing wellbeing for free:
Donate today - you can now donate super quickly as a one-off or a regular donation on our donate button on our website, or here:
Your donation, however large or small, will play a vital part in being able to continue our courses for free.
2. Shop at Co-op? It's not too late to choose MindFood as your local cause and earn money for MindFood every time you shop. The more people who choose Mindfood the more funding we receive for running sessions for free. But time is running out so please do sign up today :) https://membership.coop.co.uk/causes/52241
3. Thinking of doing a sponsored run, walk, skydive or even a 'dig-athon' - why not choose MindFood as your chosen charity partner? email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
A huge thank you, from all of the MindFood Team 🌱🌿🤗