The Asylum Seeker Allotment Project is now in its 6th season. My name is Emmy, and I love this garden so much that I have been growing food here for the past 5 years. We are a community of mixed nationalities and backgrounds, with the aim of aiding integration by creating an opportunity for different cultures to share the common goal of growing food and medicinal herbs collectively. All volunteers are welcome, English included, as this is an essential part of how we can support people getting settled into life in Bristol. We are growing our usual mix of squash, sweetcorn, amaranth, oriental leaves and aubergine which are shared out between any volunteers who come to help in the garden.
This year we are also growing medicinal herbs, also to share and teach volunteers with, and to supply to the Rhizome Herbalists Without Borders Clinic.
We have an outdoor kitchen with a herb drying rack, meaning that the facilities are set up for someone to help us process what we grow in order that the herbalists at Rhizome can get medicine out to people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford to see a herbalist.
In support of the community project we are running four workshops a month between May and September on herbal medicine and foraging. We offer these free of charge, and any donation you wish to make will go to ensuring that we can continue to run the Asylum Seeker Allotment.
These workshops will take place in a mix of places – Leighwoods, Snuff Mills, Conham River Park to name a few. Sometimes we will teach in the garden in Speedwell where there is also prolific foraging to be had, and where we can demonstrate tasty ways to eat what we forage.
We can help you to understand which medicinal actions your body personally needs to support long lasting vigour and will show how to extract and preserve these from plants we forage. Most of all, foraged food is so much more nutritious than cultivated varieties, and the act of going out to search for it is part of what our bodies are asking for.
We already have plenty of mature herbs, both wild and cultivated. Also we have a substantial poly tunnel, and seeds that we started germinating over the past two months. We work in the garden several days each week which vary according to the weather and when is most convenient for people. The best way to join in is to get in touch and let me know which day you would like to swing by for a visit. It is best to come and hang out, and then you can decide if you have any time and energy to share with the project. We are a collective effort – even just sporadic visits, or support with outreach or occasional processing of herbs would be valuable.
We like to see this garden as a subtle, deeply rooted act of resistance against an unjust political system that only rewards a limited, privileged segment of society. We have an opportunity to bring about some long lasting social change, and have huge potential in what we can continue to achieve by using this sizeable piece of land to grow medicine.
‘Asylum Seeker Allotment Project’ group on facebook
Please get in touch if you have any questions.
Here are more photos from the project: