Community Space

A new green community garden has opened in Salford, aiming to help Salfordians connect with nature.

Based at Islington Mill, Muddy Millers is a new urban concrete haven for bees, veggies and humans as respite from the gentrification of Salford.

Although this started as a project about urban food and bees, the space organically bloomed into a community space, where cooperation, non-hierarchy, honest communication and respect is practiced.

The idea for Muddy Millers came around when Klaudia Jedyka moved from Manchester to Salford during the pandemic, after moving she felt there was no local community garden, she could join she said.

Muddy Millers

Klaudia, an environmental science graduate said: “I live close to Islington Mill, so when I walked past, I saw there was a green patch of grass. And I thought, you know what, this will be perfect.

“There was already for years, this idea of turning that place into a community garden and people were very supportive of that.

“So, we had our first consultation session. Yeah, there [was] quite a few people interested in it very early on in the process.”

With Klaudia living close to Islington Mill, a green patch of grass at the mill inspired her to propose the idea for Muddy Millers.

“So, I kind of thought okay, let’s try and make something happen. And I’d go on walks or look on Google Maps for any green-spaces.

Klaudia says her studies have helped make the garden a reality along with her friends.

“I, Fee and Amber became involved and we’ve just been building this wonderful space together and it’s been fantastic”.

“I am currently doing MPhil in Soil Ecology, very interested in sustainable agriculture and everything around it.

“I was involved with Manchester Urban Diggers for a few years, which are like an urban organic growing organization.

“And that is what led to me initiating the Muddy Mill project”.

 

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The process of putting the garden together has been a learning curve for the ladies behind the project and still very much a work in progress.

Fee Plumley, head gardener and safeguarding lead said that the garden has been very much based on permaculture principles and a collaboration between herself, Klaudia and Amber. Permaculture is a design approach based on the understandings of how nature works and making sure that we can sustain human activities for many generations to come.

Plumley said, “So when we first got there, it was a concrete car park that had been largely left alone and ended up being a dumping ground.

“It’s been very much a kind of let’s spend our time focusing on clearing the space. And then let’s just see what starts to emerge from being in the space, spending time there and getting to know each other as well, because we didn’t know each other before we started this.

“I think often when things flow and actually come together naturally is when it’s happening in the right way”.

The garden came together with the use of resources that were dumped or donated to the garden, from old concrete mixing tubs that were turned into planters to pub benches that have been fixed and now are used as seating.

As well as a greenhouse that was donated from St. George’s Day Centre in Charlestown, their focus is on reusing, recycling and building new greenspaces with what’s available.

Plumley said, “That’s very much the whole permaculture principle, you know, as a kind of form it’s very much about working with the way that nature does things.

“So rather than going in and carving what man wants from the land, it’s about going well what’s already here and what does it need?

“But it’s also about self-care, and community care”.

Amber, the beekeeper, said it’s important for people to have a bigger need and connection with the natural world and she is bringing that community care and connection by educating people on honeybees and the bee keeping experience.

She is hosting ‘Bees to Bed’ this Sunday, to celebrate the new apiary and help tuck up the bees for the winter.

She said, “I definitely feel that when people are able to come and have a beekeeping experience, look in the hives and get and get really hands on with the bees, that they can make a connection with these creatures that are so integral to their own lives.

“And that they then consequently start noticing a lot more about their own environments and I think that gives people a sense of place and a sense of connection that can really be missing, particularly in in urban settings”.

With the project being a concrete haven for bees, veggies and humans, as respite from the gentrification of Salford, Plumley believes that Salford needs more places like Muddy Millers for locals to get involved in.

But said that due to long waiting lists on allotments that take anywhere from three to 15 years, it was important for them to transform these rundown places for the community.

Plumley said, “Of course, the developers only care about building high end swanky apartments for rich clients.

“And it doesn’t help the homelessness problem, and it doesn’t actually build community, most of those apartments are left empty.

“So, it’s about turning one of those spaces into something that is actually centred on human connection and connection to nature, and our well-being and how we thrive, despite capitalism”.

The space is about building community and making a connection with nature and other people, with events in the works and more opportunities for Salfordians to get involved in planned.

Volunteers are welcome to enquire through their Instagram or come to one of the open sessions that run from two till five every Wednesday.

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