ACE celebrates examples of good practice in helping to reduce the town’s carbon footprint.  Here, part of a car park has been turned into a vegetable and fruit garden to grow fresh produce for low income Aylsham residents.

Driving into Aylsham, you may have noticed a new garden that has sprung up at the Aylsham Community Church in Norwich Road.

Anne Miles in the car park garden.

The Community Fridge Garden is the brainchild of Anne Miles, who first raised the idea of making a garden to grow food for the Community Fridge in 2021.  A year later, funding was found by the  Community Church and Anne was given the go ahead to design the garden.

By late spring of 2023, raised beds and a pergola were built and are now full of fruit and vegetables, including the first fresh strawberries to be enjoyed by users of the Community Fridge.  Coming up are runner beans, beetroot, lettuce, broccoli, onions, kale, spinach, potatoes, rhubarb, herbs, carrots, parsnips, courgettes, leeks and tomatoes, a cornucopia of fresh food from just eight beds.

The wheelchair friendly garden is maintained by Anne, along with volunteers who help with weeding and also provide seedlings grown at home, and there are plans to extend the garden with more raised beds and planters.  A nearby water butt collects rainwater from the church roof to supply water for the garden.

As well as providing fresh food, the garden, along with its native hedge, provides a wildlife haven on the edge of a busy main road, and a green and pleasant space for visitors to the church to spend time.  Children from the nearby Nursery School visit to see what can be grown in a small space and to inspire them to grow their own.

These initiatives supply fresh food to those in our community on low incomes as well as reducing the town’s carbon footprint.  Many fruits and vegetables we buy have travelled hundreds or thousands of miles to our shops.  Growing our own food is hugely pleasurable and rewarding, good for our mental and physical health and good for the planet.

And don’t forget to bring your excess fresh food to the Community Fridge.

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