About the project

A “Community Garden” with a Difference

Westbury Arts Centre is joining forces with Transition Town MK to introduce a new community garden with a difference… More than just a garden, this project is about building a different way of managing things, a permanent culture serving everyone’s interests in a natural, low-maintenance and self-sustaining way.

The plot will be managed using permaculture principles (ie working with nature,) located in the beautiful grounds of Westbury Arts Centre. The long-term goal is for the plot to become a community garden that everyone contributes to – thereby providing a special space to grow vegetables and plants that the local community (including local schools) can tend, learn about and enjoy, whilst also maintaining important biodiverse wildlife habitats and a central place for people to meet, socialise and work together on something meaningful.

Similarly to the Forest Garden that was featured on the BBC’s “Big Dreams Small Spaces” series hosted by Monty Don, the project is about gardening with nature. The plot itself will be designed to complement Westbury’s existing wildflower meadow and pond, where together these natural spaces will ensure a balance between pests and beneficial insects so that the gardens are more naturally maintained, such as by slug eating reptiles like frogs, toads and slowworms.

                                        

The project is in the very early stages, where the group is raising awareness of the project (and what permaculture is) in a bid to encourage more members/ volunteers and raise some money for plants, tools and a new shed for the plot.

Transition Town MK co-founder, Michael Shepherd says:

“It’s great to work with Westbury Arts Centre to bring a community garden to Milton Keynes that embraces permaculture principles. Everyone involved in this project will be part of something special and potentially revolutionary for Milton Keynes. 

By working together, and with nature, our permaculture plot should more or less manage itself in future and only require a low level of maintenance once everything’s setup. That makes it even more magical when we imagine it’s potential to give us edible produce to share as well as space that benefits the local community and our natural environment.

There’s no limit to who can be involved – in fact, the more the merrier! Our members aren’t just expected to maintain the gardens, everyone is encouraged to contribute in whatever way works for them. We can all bring something to the project, whatever skills and time we can offer.

This project is something for our community to own and be proud of. Right now, we need to work together to plan and build it, but in future we will quite literally reap the fruits of our labour!”

Residents and organisations of Milton Keynes and surrounding areas are encouraged to sign-up and get involved with the permaculture project to help Milton Keynes establish its first permaculture-led community garden.

Whether you can volunteer some time, any expertise or simply want to contribute food scraps to the compost heap, everyone is welcome.

To sign-up or learn more about the project or attend the group’s 22 October “Sustainable Gardening” event, call 01908 501 214 or email: admin@westburyartscentre.co.uk. 

Alternatively, explore the Westbury Arts Centre and Transition Town MK websites for further information.