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Stories Through Songs and Grow Food Indoors

Posted 15th Mar 2024 · Blog

By Lucy Edwards, Community Growing Assistant

As we all know, the February weather in Aberdeen is seldom the most welcoming. After living here for some 10 years now I’ve come to expect the worst for this time of the year – howling winds, persistent rain, and the thermometer in my living room hanging around 10 degrees. As such, having a way to apply our gardening skills in a cosier setting at this time of the year is much welcome, and thankfully, in the Bon Accord Centre’s Vaccination and Wellbeing Hub, we’ve had a team of enthusiastic collaborators…

Having confirmed the use of the space last year, our colleague Rebecca set about laying down the basic structure for a series of course that would be suited to it. The aims were to create a space for people to gather with and meet new people during the colder months, while also learning some new skills. In the end, the programme of courses came to be a meeting of the arts with gardening, featuring both indoor gardening courses and song writing courses, and plenty of cross-pollination in-between.

Our indoor gardening courses, using an adapted version of One Seed Forward’s “Learning and Growing Together” programme, guided participants through the process of creating their own indoor vegetable gardens, using pots, soil, and a wide range of seeds, also supplied by One Seed Forward. Additionally, we were lent a “Cube of Perpetual Light” from Scotlands' Rural College. This was originally built as a part of the Dandelion festival and we worked together in the Hub to grow microgreens for us to share during course sessions. By the end, many microgreen crackers were had, and participants were starting to see their windowsills show fresh green growth.

Rebecca took the lead on our song writing course - 'Stories Through Songs'. This was funded by Aberdeen City Council Creative Pilot Seed Funding. Rebecca worked with volunteers to guide participants through the process of writing their own lyrics, melodies, and accompaniments, using themes of gardening and our local environment as sources of inspiration. These have culminated in some participants performing their work – once at a local arts and poetry night, Speakin’ Weird, and plans are forming for us to come together for a separate showcase event of our own. Watch this space!

Exploring these other ways to grow and gather within the urban environment, we felt, was particularly relevant, due to the overall lack of green space available to residents of the George St area – few public parks, small and impractical residential gardens, and no local initiatives to create community-managed green spaces and gardens. Excitingly, there’s talk now of some of our participants from these courses working together to establish new community garden areas in the area surrounding George St with support from the Council’s Community Planning team.

Ironically, this February we were lucky to have plenty of the best kind of Aberdonian winter weather – crisp and dry with clear pastel skies. But our sessions in the Hub’s workshop space were nonetheless well attended and well received! And now we’re looking forward to returning to the Hub for future sessions. Next up in May, The Grow Dome Strikes Back…

Testimonial from Ganna, Ukraine

"I wanted to take a moment to express my deepest gratitude for the wonderful lessons on seedling growing and the thoughtful gifts you've provided. The experience of nurturing seedlings alongside you has been incredibly enriching and rewarding for me.

Additionally, I wanted to share how your courses have had a ripple effect of kindness. I excitedly shared our lessons with my friend, who is currently in Ukraine. Despite the distance, we connected over a video call, and she was absolutely delighted by the wonderful seedling boxes and especially the ingenious bottle attachment that transforms it into a watering spout. On her behalf, I want to extend her heartfelt thanks to you as well.

It was deeply meaningful for me to briefly divert my friend's attention from her heavy thoughts, and I thank God for leading me to discover your courses and attend them.

I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from you. Thank you once again for everything."