Local people are being encouraged to go wild for nature in a new, community initiative ‘Grow Feral’ led by Weston-based artist and creative producer Sam Francis.
The project, commissioned by Culture Weston and funded by Arts Council England, is calling on communities to engage with the natural world and creatively explore the interconnected nature of our wilderness together.
A series of creative, adult workshops and hands-on making and doing sessions will explore the symbiotic relationship of all of the natural world – humans, creatures, plants, land and earth, as a radical act of gardening and growing together.
Sam Francis explained: “Grow Feral is a collaborative project between the land and the people of Weston-super-Mare, to consider how we want to live, co-exist, and connect through food and all things green.
“Together, we can be empowered to contribute to the amazing biodiversity of life on earth, which is under continuous threat and needs our help!”
Places are limited and need to be booked in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
See below for workshop information.
Join a workshop
To get to the root of it all, the workshops are taking place this August and September at Osprey Gardens, Clark’s Field Allotments, Rectors Way, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 3NR.
The sessions will cover a range of activities from co-creating a micro-garden for Weston town centre and a wood-fired clay oven for communal meals to creating flower monoprint artwork and ‘Grow your own Feral seed kits’ to be dispensed from pop-up customised vending machines in the town this Autumn.
Places are limited and need to be booked in advance by emailing email@example.com, stating which workshop you would like to attend.
All workshops are free, recommended for age 18+ and people are invited to bring their own lunch along.
Co-create Grow Feral Micro-Garden: Friday 13 and Sat 14 August, 10am-4pm Age: 18+
Co-design a new micro-garden exploring the principles of ‘permaculture’ and looking
at natural ecosystems to create a seated, green and growing area for Weston town centre and a shared space for residents and visitors alike to meet and be with nature.
The sessions will draw upon and explore Permaculture principles to develop a playful and plantful design considering the aesthetics of plants, growing and the natural world. Permaculture is a creative design process and philosophy informed by natural ecosystems that work with nature rather than against it.
Develop new skills and work together to see the creative process come to fruition, with an opening event for the new ‘Grow Feral’ micro-garden and growing space planned for Sunday 26 September, to mark the end of the Big Green Week and the Weston Arts + Health Week.
The sessions will be led by Abel Pearson of Glasbren – an inspiring, not for profit organisation and small-holding based in Carmarthenshire, Wales.
The Art of Botanics: Plant Crafting sessions for women: Friday 20 and 27 August, 10am-2pm. Age: 18+
Within a small group, explore the creative potential of plants and our connection to the natural world through a range of plant crafting activities, which both have proven therapeutic benefits for body, mind and soul. The sessions include a sensory tour of the allotment site in full bloom to identify and gather the myriad wildflowers, plants, weeds, flowers and vegetables to use during the crafting activities, which include monoprinting and cyanotypes to making wildflower seed packs.
Together, participants will also design and make ‘Grow your own Feral Kits’ which will include a seed pack, hand-made instruction booklet, and prints made by workshop participants. The kits will be launched on Saturday 25 September at 12pm as part of Weston Arts + Health Week
From the Earth to the Table: Build a Wood-fired Clay Oven: Friday 3 and Friday 10 September, 10am-4pm. Age: 18+
Co-build an outdoor clay oven for the purpose of baking food, using clay extracted from the soil and other reclaimed natural materials.
The sessions, led by Bristol based Rachel Baker, will be a hands-in-the-earth experience – a physical and tactile process involving ‘puddling’ (mixing the clay-sand mixture with your hands – or feet!) to construct a unique clay oven. The oven will be fired up for a communal meal using produce grown on Osprey’s allotment, as part of a community open day celebrating Heritage Open Days on Sunday 19 September.
There is also a chance to make Japanese ‘Dorodango’ – balls of mud, molded by hand to form perfect spheres, then dried and highly polished to disguise their earthen origins!
Rachel lived in Weston as a teenager and has united her skills as both a potter and a baker, to build a number of clay ovens with community groups in the area.
Grow Feral, Taste Feral: Osprey Community Allotment Open Day; Cook Up for Heritage Open Days and Arts + Health Week: Sunday 19 September, 12-4pm – drop in. Open to all ages.
Produced by Theatre Orchard and Culture Weston, and led by Sam Francis as part of Heritage Open Days: Edible England.
At Osprey Gardens, Clark’s Field Allotments, Rectors Way, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 3NR.
Osprey Community Allotment volunteers have been busy all year establishing the site using permaculture principles, growing familiar English fruit and vegetables, and developing an ‘exotic’ polytunnel called ‘Bato Kunku’ (Gambian for ‘farm by the sea’) attempting to grow produce that originates from outside the UK. Embark on a sensory tour of the community allotment site with its cottage garden and orchards in full bloom, and sample some of its delicious produce cooked up by Weston’s Loves Cafe using a clay oven specially made for the event. Donations are welcomed.
Also on offer are a host of creative activities using natural materials found on the allotment including willow weaving, plant print-making, make your own herbal tea- bags. Pick up specially designed menu cards and get involved in vegetable apple bobbing and tongue-in-cheek vegetable judging (bring yours along!).…. come along and be surprised by the many delights that can emerge from a flourishing allotment garden.