Yesterday, while pottering among the containers down on Steamer quay, where edible flowers, fruit, herbs and vegetables have been growing for the last few years, for all to share and enjoy, I was even more heartened than usual by interactions with those passing by.
An elderly woman told me that walking past these containers every day unfailingly lifted her spirits, seeing how well cared-for they were, how beautiful and productive. Also, the knowledge that they were tended and planted by volunteers for anyone to help themselves felt a wonderful ray of light in dark times.
Later a young man passing by gave £10 as an expression of gratitude for helping himself every day to mint, for his tea when he got to work.
Both these gestures and comments are not unusual in my experience of being one of the volunteers, and unknown gifts of gratitude sometimes appear in the beds, like a pot of honey, or a painted stone, as well as donations of money.
For me, growing a culture of sharing and gratitude became one of the mainstays of this TTT project of growing food for all to share in public places, superseding as the years went by, the initial intentions of growing more food locally [saving ‘food miles’] and encouraging people to find a way of growing their own fruit and veg even in very small spaces in tiny gardens or verandahs.
Reaction to growing awareness of the fruitful orchards, nut groves and tiny gardens around the place has not been uniformly appreciative by any means, and critical annoyance at rotting apples lying under trees, or broken branches lying where they have been torn down, have occasionally come my way.
Thankfully, this does not happen often, at least to my knowledge.
So I take heart at one more small step towards a tipping-point, a groundswell, of rejoicing in the bounty of the earth, there for anyone of us to enjoy.