written by Lisa and Yasmine (9 years old SLRA member)
In August, around 30 people – families and adults – made their way from crowded and busy London to the calm and beautiful countryside of Berkshire. We met in the early morning at our office to travel all together on a coach to Hempen organic farm.
Hempen is a co-operative community established in 2015. We met their community and volunteer coordinator, Sophe, last year at the Migrant Connections Festival and kept in touch. Sophe came to lead a lovely workshop with Women’s Group, which really helped our own garden at SLRA to get off the ground. Men’s Group, along with volunteers Jo and Andy, have been maintaining it beautifully ever since… the garden has already brought so much peace and pleasure to our SLRA community.
The Hempen organic farm has a community outreach project called Growing Solidarity. Growing Solidarity is a project with weekly sessions on the farm or in their local neighbourhood in which members can share their skills, knowledge and come together. One focus is on addressing barriers to accessing healthy and nutritious food.
We thought, how wonderful if we could bring our groups together… a summer holiday trip was the answer! We were met off the bus by a little boy proudly offering us each a freshly picked blackberry from his bowl. You could feel how everyone became immediately relaxed being surrounded by nature and how much everyone appreciated the different atmosphere compared to a hectic city. Our day was full of adventure: We had a tour around the farm, went to the forest nearby, had a fashion show, made arts and crafts out of natural materials, did some gardening, played games and sang many different songs. – Of course, there was also delicious food provided by the Hempen farm! We had brought a hamper of our harvest, tied up in a gold bow to add to their table. Silvio’s tomatoes, that he had lovingly looked after, went into the dish along with our rosemary, spring onions and chard.
One of the kids that joined us with her mum at the farm, summarised her day at the farm like this:
“I have been at a farm, a special organic farm. We looked at beautiful flowers, vegetables and fruits. I have brought some flowers home. I looked at the bumblebees. We did a really cool fashion show. We got things from nature and fabric then our stylist and helped to make a costume. We showed everyone how great this place was, by dancing down the catwalk. I ate lettuce and gooey stuff. There is a whole forest, sheep, birds, poisonous things and prickly stuff but I managed to avoid the dangerous things. I would like even more animals there. The people there are really kind and I recommend everybody to go there. There were toys for the babies and snacks. The shower was heated up by compost composting on top – I think that is very unique.”
regular kids party child, 9 years old
“The people there are really kind and I recommend everybody to go there” – This recaps the day! We had such a wonderful and special time at the Hempen farm. We are really happy about the invitation by the “Growing Solidarity Project” and hope to stay in touch with them. Thank you!