Grow Community – Sopwell

Grow Community – Sopwell‘ is a local group of volunteers in Sopwell ward, St Albans, supporting people to grow their own food at home and in community spaces. We enjoy a bit of cooking along the way – and love to involve all ages including children – in #GrowYourOwn. We enjoy putting on events about growing food and looking after our local community spaces. See more about what we do below:

1. Promote the benefits of sustainable, localised food production.
2. Promote the benefit of reduced food waste.
3. Encourage and enable local residents to grow their own food at
home and in community spaces, reduce food waste, share surplus food
in the community and with local charity groups.
4. Promote wildlife conservation and restoration projects and
encourage local residents to participate in these projects.
5. Connect ongoing initiatives and bring the community together
through activities related to the above aims (e.g. growing and preserving
food, building infrastructure, competitions, providing food for local
events, wildlife events).

E-mail us at growsopwell@gmail.com. You can also find out more by joining our Grow Community on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube

What’s Coming Up…

Our News and Events

  • 5 Dec 2020: Wreath making

    Thank you to local resident Joanna Ramasawmy, who is running a free socially distanced wreath making workshop on 5th December 2020. Share your garden greenery (or pick some up from the local gardens offering up spare if you don’t have a green patch of your own), followed by a zoom workshop where Joanna will help us make beautiful winter decorations! Find out more information and how to take part by joining our Facebook group.

  • Grow Community – Sopwell: Annual Report published for 2020
    Image credit: Grow Community – Sopwell
  • Donate your produce to the local Foodbank
    Image credit: K Swindells

    The Foodbank donations box is now out at the stall on Leyland Avenue every Saturday until Tuesday.

    Please consider popping a little something from your harvests in to help ensure Sopwell residents in need get some fresh produce each week.

    There are clean punnets and hand sanitiser available.

    Located on a driveway at the end of Leyland Avenue.

    Please follow coronavirus guidelines and walk/cycle if you are able to.

  • National recognition for Grow Community – Sopwell’s Chair

    We are incredibly proud to announce that Kate Swindells, the driving force behind Grow Community – Sopwell, has been included in the Independent newspaper’s Happy List 2020. The list celebrates people doing remarkable things to unite communities during the pandemic. Kate was secretly nominated by a local Sopwell resident for “all [she’s] done for so many of us in Sopwell, especially during Lockdown, and for what [she] will no doubt continue to do in the future”. We are so lucky to have someone of her heart, vision and determination to inspire the community. Well done Kate!

    @independent #happylist2020 @GrowSopwell

    Find out more here.

  • Community garden consultation: Thanks for your views

    The Council consultation is now over. Thank you to residents who have had their say on where best to locate our community garden, and any other views you have.

    We want this to be a positive community project in Sopwell, and will listen carefully to all views.

    The survey and detailed information about the project can be found on the Council’s Open Consultations webpage:
    stalbans.gov.uk/consultations

    The garden will be on St Albans City and District Council land, and is funded by a community grant.

    For more information or any comments/questions contact:
    Kate Swindells (Chair) at GrowSopwell@gmail.com 
    Or
    Peggy Sharpe, SADC Community Engagement Project Officer. Preferably by email: Peggy.Sharp@stalbans.gov.uk or telephone: 01727 819340

  • Abbots Avenue West planters
    Grow Community – Sopwell at the Abbots Avenue West planters. Photo credit: Grow Community – Sopwell

    The first stage of rejuvenating the Abbots Avenue planters kick-started in late May. A bit tricky with social distancing in mind so the core team took turns to weed, trim, dig and clean the beds.
    We’re looking to repaint the planters soon, after consultation with local residents and Mandeville school, whose students painted the images on them quite a few years ago now.

    We are slowly but surely introducing wonderful plants for the whole community to enjoy with an abundance of sage and oregano already on offer. We’ve added wild flowers for the local wildlife too!  Just waiting for some promised compost before we do any more planting.

    If you’d like to be added to the watering rota for occasional watering duties, please keep an eye on the Facebook page for updates or contact us to receive our e-mail notifications.

  • Thanks to our experts at Food Garden Question Time

    On Thursday 18th June 2020, the Grow Community – Sopwell hosted an online event with panel of three experienced local gardeners: Michelle, Amanda and Ian. They answered a range of questions from local growers on topics including the best fruit trees for patio pots, how to grow asparagus and cauliflowers, and how best to compost. Some fascinating insights into growing your own fruit and veg for people to take away and use in their own gardens and allotments. Thank you to our panellists for their time and expertise!

  • April-June 2020 Seed and seedling giveaway

    We’ve got a selection of edible and wildlife-friendly seeds and seedlings available to giveaway, and always appreciate donations (please label them!)

    Seeds: Pumpkins and sunflowers

    Seedlings: Pumpkins, sunflowers, French beans, carrots, leeks, lettuces, redcurrant, raspberries, cabbage, chives, tomatoes, chillies, aubergines, cucumber, runner beans, courgette.

    Also still some sunflower seeds left for The Great St Albans Sunflower Challenge.

    Go on, give it a grow. #GrowTogether

    • Come along and collect after 10 am and before 8pm, every day.
    • End of Leyland Avenue – walk right down to the cul de sac end.
    • Please follow coronavirus guidelines.
    • Check whether your selected seedling needs to be protected from frost.
  • #GrowTogether

    In March 2020, #GrowTogether The Grow Community wants to support you to grow at home. We will be putting out a tray with free compost and seed packets for people to take away and plant at home. There’ll be an information leaflet too. We can then offer you lots of advice, and support you growing at home through our online channels.

    Follow our step-by-step guides here.

    Please email us or comment on the Facebook post if you would like to join in. We can then let you know when and where to collect the packs from.

    Please be considerate and only take one set per family. And please stay safe, practice social distancing and wash your hands.

  • March Community Event

    Our 7th March 2020 event started with a fantastic talk by Nadia from Wilderhood Watch. The Community made seed bombs, planted up pots and had refreshments, including some very topical hedgehog cupcakes (thanks Sallyann).