Empanda’s Community Garden

Thanks to a request on behalf of Empanda by Brandon Town Council chair Peter Callaghan, Brandon Allotment Association has very generously offered Empanda an allotment to operate as a community garden. Situated next to the river, the allotments are surrounded by trees, grassland and an abundance of wildflowers, offering a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of Brandon town.

Ben and Sally, accompanied by Peter Callaghan, met with Les Payne from the Allotment Association at the gardens earlier this week. Les explained that the committee has chosen a plot for Empanda that offers the easiest access for people reliant on wheelchairs or those who may find walking on uneven surfaces difficult.

Whilst the plot looks rather overgrown and wild, it was used as an active allotment up until last year, so the basic structure of beds and paths is there. With some cutting back, weeding and digging – and a lot of tender, loving care, our aim is to breathe new life into this space and transform it into a thriving community garden to be proud of.

Given we have missed this year’s planting season for many fruit and vegetables, in the early months, we will be focusing on preparing the garden and getting the soil ready for next spring. If we succeed in time, we may be able to get some onions, potatoes and Brussels sprouts started as they can be grown over the winter.

Les has very generously made us a bench with storage underneath for garden tools and, along with other allotment users, has offered us tools for our volunteers. Another allotment user has even offered to make us raised beds! Along with the tools, there are wheelbarrows that we can use when working on the allotment and we will benefit from the communal water tanks and a muck heap.

We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the allotment committee and Les could not have made us feel more welcome. We are truly grateful for their support in helping us make this venture a success.

This is an exciting new project and a tremendous opportunity for Empanda. We are looking forward to recruiting a volunteer co-ordinator to take the lead in managing the community garden. We can then start organising groups of Empanda’s customers and welcoming the people of Brandon, young or old, who would like to spend time in the garden and meet new people, whilst learning new skills. Any produce grown will be used in the community café at the Brandon Day Centre where everyone will be welcome to come and try out the fruits (and vegetables) of our labour.