We have been lucky enough to receive 2 grants, one of £5000 for the Parish council, and a second one of around £825 for the community market garden which was spent on a high quality submersible pump for the two five thousand litre water tanks which supply the garden.
The Parish Council used their grant to build two water catching roof structures on their allotment site, with the aim of reducing the amount of mains water used by allotment holders. Each structure catches rainwater from its roof, funnelling it into a 3500 litre tank underneath. The water is then extracted from the tank using a battery powered pump, as there is no electricity on site. Both structures were built in March 2023, and have since completely filled their tanks, despite being heavily used – this shows that way in excess of the 3500 litres per tank is being provided and used (depending on the weather – 2023 has been a very wet year!). The design of the structures leaves room for a second tank to be installed if observation shows it to be worthwhile. 2023 results would indicate that is was.
The allotments are used to grow fruit and vegetables, with the Sarratt Community Garden renting 4 of them under a special license which allows for the sale of the produce (this is not generally permitted under allotment law). The manner of cultivation is organic in nature, though without the certification that we would like, due to the prohibitive cost of ongoing certification by the Soil Association. There is a strong emphasis on sustainable water use, shown primarily by the use of rainwater, but also in the deep care given to the soils – the use of deep mulches and green manures which both retain water, and reduce run off. The Community allotments achieve high levels of productivity, the results of which are sold in the community run village shop, enabling local people to purchase truly local and sustainable produce at a reasonable price, as well as helping the community garden ( a registered CIC) to be financially secure. The Community garden has a strong link with local charity ‘Mission EmployAble’, helping young adults with learning difficulties to find meaningful employment. This is expressed as a weekly session with several of their interns.
Sarratt Parish Council and Sarratt Community Garden are deeply grateful for the transformative grants that we have received – without water there is no market gardening! For any more information please email email@example.com