Grangetown gardening group wants to make the most of green spaces

Volunteers needed to help cultivate community gardens with fruit and veg for all to share

A GRANGETOWN resident is starting a gardening group to make derelict spaces green and grow organic food for the community.  

Law graduate Sanab Hersi, 30, is retraining in permaculture, the study of sustainable land management, and has set up a gardening group called Green Soul Garden.

“People from my Somali community and other Black and ethnic minority communities are forgotten about. We don’t all have access to green spaces, real food, and the education around that. I want to provide that,” she said.  

According to Friends of the Earth, almost 40% of people from ethnic minority backgrounds in the UK live in the most areas deprived of green spaces, compared to 14% of white people.  

“We would like to be the forerunners when it comes to projects like these,” said Ms Hersi. 

“It’s about providing access to green spaces and good food. Sometimes you go to gardening groups and there’s no-one that looks like you. We want to make it very inclusive. 

Sanab Hersi in Grange Gardens | Photo by Umaamah Mustafa

“We are for the most part left out of the conversation, especially here in Wales, when it comes to how green spaces are used and enjoyed.  

“This group to me is very positive because power, privilege and politics has no place when it comes to green spaces and gardening.” 

Green Soul Garden currently has six members, but around 20 will be needed to make the project sustainable.  

The group is hoping to run workshops on topics ranging from composting, fruit tree pruning and no-dig gardening to arts and crafts using natural materials. 

It also hopes to invite speakers and experts in fields related to health, well-being, gardening and sustainability. 

Ms Hersi hopes the group will be able to train volunteers in the skills needed to help manage green spaces around the city.  

“Knowledge-sharing and skill-building is key to our group; we would like to pass down wisdom to the next generation so we can all have a positive effect on the future of our Earth.” 

She has a vision of a series of green spaces in Grangetown with fruit trees, herbs and vegetables.  

“People can just come, forage, take what they need, and the rest will be distributed or sold,” she said.  

Ms Hersi hopes these gardens will bring people together, encouraging difficult conversations about race and class  

Ms Hersi is talking with the charity Social Farms and Gardens, the not-for-profit, that tries to find unused spaces for community gardening and farming, but so far this has not been fruitful.  

So she has also contacted people in the surrounding community, including the Grange Pavilion Rangers, to find a location.  

The Rangers will be working with Ms Hersi as part of their own Greening Grangetown initiative.  

One of the rangers, Charlotte Brown said: “Part of our role is to support local groups such as the Green Soul Garden who want to improve the area and give something back to the community. 

“We are really excited to work with Sanab and support her in whatever ways we can.”  

The group is still trying to find a permanent space, but planting season is already in full swing. It needs seeds, space and volunteers to make progress.