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GreenFriends UK Newsletter
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Welcome to the Spring edition of the GreenFriends UK quarterly e-news, aiming to inspire and encourage each of us to participate in Amma's environmental message. We'd love to hear your experiences of integrating any of the InDeed pledges in your personal or family life, or in the wider community. Responses to the articles in this e-news, and any articles on an environmental theme are very welcome, including photos, poetry, art, or anything else you'd like to share. Please send articles to Mary at gfnewsletter@gorgeview.org by 12th June for the Spring edition (due on 21st June). 

Visit the GreenFriends UK website www.greenfriends.org.uk for more environmental information and resources. 

Previous editions of the e-news can be found in the archive.

“God is the indivisible oneness devoid of all boundaries or separation. Mother Nature, the atmosphere, the birds and other animals, the plants and trees, each and every atom in them is overflowing with this divine power. God is fully present in all that is sentient and insentient. When we fully understand this truth, we can do nothing but love ourselves as well as everyone around us.” Amma, February 2017
London Satsang GetGrowing 2017
Part 1: Seed planting

 
Four of us met to mix the vermiculite and peat-free compost in preparation for the planting of organic seeds that had been personally blessed by AMMA.  Experience from last year's GetGrowing course came in handy as we decided to use paper, biodegradable planting boxes instead of the plastic templates as these could be directly planted into the ground after hardening, without the need to potentially disrupt the root ball. We also invested in covers to enclose the seed trays as these could be reused and made watering and caring for the seedlings easier. 
We had fun mixing the compost and someone (not mentioning names) forgot to moisten his mixture with water!  Thankfully the error was quickly spotted and remedied. 
We planted a variety of vegetables including: Matador spinach, Nantaise carrot, Amarant Red cabbage, Rainbow chard, Pole bean, Sweetdumpling squash, Cherrie tomato, Sugar snap pea AND Thulasi!!

Although we were all beginners, the GetGrowing course last year had given us confidence and the needed hands-on experience to try this year.
Although we were all beginners, the GetGrowing course last year had given us confidence and the needed hands-on experience to try this year.

We felt it was very important, as AMMA had advised all her children but also as it was the beginning of the 'growing year' and it was important to make a start.  By starting with very little effort we have invoked the power of Mother Nature to create magic and produce a bounty for the whole family to enjoy. 
 
London Satsang 

GetGrowing Weekend Course
21st-23rd April, Cheddar, Somerset

 
“Even if we have only a tiny plot of land, we should try to grow a few vegetables using organic fertilisers. This relationship to Nature will give us a new vitality.” Amma

GetGrowing is a free hands-on course to learn how to grow your own produce in whatever space you have available, be it a kitchen window-sill, balcony, patio or a larger area of land. This informative and comprehensive course teaches you how to sow and grow, care for, feed and protect your plants in harmony with nature, equipping you with all the skills you need to start growing your own produce this year.

Learn about garden planning, seeding in trays, seeding into the soil, mini-greenhouse, constructing a mini-tunnel, methods of vegetable bed design and planning, growing in containers, mulching, composting, compost 'tea', transplanting, crop rotation, bean and pea supports, soil, soil-food web, pest control, and general care for your plants as they grow.
 
This course is excellent for complete novices and is also valuable for those already with some growing skills, particularly if you're interested in teaching the course to friends, schools or community groups in your area. Attending a GetGrowing course enables you to become a GetGrowing trainer, learning how to share this information with others.
The course is accompanied by an excellent manual, complete with  step by step guides, colour photos and resources.This will be available on the course, and costs £9.00 if you want to take one away with you. 

The teaching of the course is free of charge but as places are limited, booking is essential. There is a small charge for those who require food and accommodation. To book your place, and for more information on food and accommodation options please use the online booking form . To find out more about GreenFriends GetGrowing courses visit the GreenFriends UK website

If you're unable to attend this course, but are interested in future UK GetGrowing courses, please register your interest and we will inform you as and when other courses are planned. You can register your interest by completing this online form.

Pollinator Paths Wandsworth (from London Sustainability Exchange)

The Challenge

London’s gardens cover nearly a quarter of Greater London and the amount of green space in the city has led to calls for it to be designated a National Park City.
However, London’s garden vegetation dropped by 12% between 1998 and 2008 alone due to more hard surfaces being built. Knowing this it is not surprising to learn that an RSPB study showed that 75% of young people in London are not connected to nature. In 2011 a Sowing the Seeds report mapped out city farms, nature play areas etc – however it showed they reached less than 1 in 20 of the capital’s children. This loss of vegetation also means a crucial loss of forage and habitat for a range of wild plants and animals. In fact over 13,000 species have been recorded within the capital over the last 50 years, however many are in decline with some considered ‘at risk’.

What we’re doing

Our pilot project will design and test a new kit to turn window boxes and balconies from at least 45 homes into wildlife “havens”. We want to offer those who live in London’s inner boroughs and high rises the opportunity to enjoy gardening whilst providing beneficial habitat and foraging for wildlife.

Firstly we will run a series of workshops to review city microclimates (i.e. window boxes, balconies etc) and design several ‘plant packs’ suitable for these microclimates which will give a yield to enthuse the growers, and benefit flying pollinator species,
in this case with a particular focus on the Powder Quaker Moth, Spinach Moth and Long Horned Mining Bee.

Then, working primarily with 3 community gardens based in Wandsworth, we will distribute plants to hosts happy take part in the first ‘test’ growing season of the design. Hosts may include schools and other community garden spaces.

Project objectives

  • Beneficial habitat/foraging created for wildlife, including flying pollinators and birds connecting key urban green spaces 
  • 100 people from 45 households receive ‘packs’ to become gardeners in their grey spaces; increasing green space in London 
  • New growers to be connected to local gardens, to enable ongoing support 
  • Online resource created to support growing in these specific ‘microclimates’
  • 1 Plant ‘kit’ design created suitable for use beyond the life of the project.

Get involved

If you are interested in wildlife gardening, why not become part of our network, transforming Wandsworth for the benefit of flying pollinators and for your enjoyment.

You can get involved by:

  • Attending the design workshops (February/March)
  • Applying to host plants and be part of the pollinator paths (which will be distributed in April/June)
  • Joining our mailing list to attend one of the events we will be holding with our community garden partners to share knowledge and skills of urban growing/biodiversity

NO GARDENING EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY, JUST ENTHUSIASM!

  • Contact Hannah Gardiner    020 7234 9402     h.gardiner@lsx.org.uk 

International GreenFriends on Facebook


Further inspiration to be found on the new international GreenFriends Facebook page with a live news feed, showing what Amma and her children are doing all over the world to restore the harmony with nature.
Visit  GreenFriends International.
If you'd like to post anything GreenFriends related that you're involved with in your area, please send to the co-ordinator Devapriyan (Dorian Spraak).
 
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