Spring seems to have appeared - the wild garlic is out, the sun is shining, and the evenings are long. The onions and some other vegetables are also starting to come up at the allotment.
Having missed the chance to make rocket stoves last Tuesday, I was keen to help finish them off with the young people. While some people had finished theirs, the majority had gotten most the way and then left them. So, I sat down with young people, and helped them to put the finishing touches onto their rocket stoves. A lot of people had done the big bits of work such as cutting the holes, but hadn’t done the fiddly parts link bending the metal back so that the insulation didn’t fall out. With a little guidance we completed these jobs. Everyone seems proud of their work.
On Thursday, at Killingbeck, we were transferring plants from one bed to another - mainly strawberries and currents. There was one boy who wasn’t interested in doing this job and so I tried to engage him in another job – taking the plastic off the cardboard boxes. It’s interesting how these little interventions give you the opportunity to get to know people better. As we were working one-on-one I was able to ask him questions which in a group setting I couldn’t have. I found out that he’s going to London for the first time with school over Easter for a few night. He’s worried about where he is going to stay. I tried to reassure him that the school would have sorted that. He also told me his parents were concerned for his safety following the incident at Westminster on the 22nd March. I didn’t know what to say to this, so asked him what he thought about the attacks? He just shrugged.
Dog poo on the Rosebank has been a consistent problem, and so on Friday, we made signs about clearing up your poo. We then, planted lots of onions in small pots. The idea is that because you put so many onions into a pot, they don't have the space to grow like normal onions and so will grow like spring onions. The young people each made on pot and took these home with them. Doing this also facilitated conversations about food and made me realise how bad their diets often are. We hoped that by teaching them how easy it is to grow their own food, they might show a greater interest in eating more healthily. Obviously, it isn’t that simple, and diet is interrelated in many other social, economic and cultural factors, but it is important for them to develop a connection between what is grown and what they eat.