Growing Diversity for Hull, the latest project from BAMEEN, Black and Minority Ethnic Environment Network, got of to a flying start on 28th April with a diverse and well attended meeting at Spring Bank Community Centre. Over 40 people representing many different black and ethnic minorities came to find out what Growing Diversity for Hull was all about and why they should join it.
Dawda Jatta of BAMEEN opened the meeting and introduced the project. He highlighted the many advantages to the residents of Hull and in particular its minority communities in growing food for themselves and the wider community. While he recognized that environmental limits about what could be grown existed he said a number of foods widely used by the communities present at the meeting could be grown. He also stated that there were opportunities to set up community enterprises through the food growing project as well as seeing the project help integrate groups into the wider community through food related activities. He then asked John Smith Co-Founder of Urbanag a group who fully support the work of BAMEEN to add his comments from his experience of urban agricultural projects he has been involved in. John talked mainly about the opportunities for growing what are often called cultural foods, that is foods not normally grown in this country but which are used by some members of the community although expressing a need to understand the limits of our environment and its climate and weather. He cited a number of projects he knew of which had started by being supported by funders but then going on to become social enterprises offering opportunities to community’s social and economic welfare. Finally he wished the project well and looked forward in offering Urbanag’s experience and network to assist the BAMEEN project.
A short period of questions and answers then followed and included questions of growing skills and techniques and more general questions about such topics as aquaponics.
As might be expected at such an event the group then moved on to enjoy a traditional meal of rice and peanut sauce and informal discussion. Dawda finally closed the meeting with a wish to work with all those present and a commitment to follow up this meeting with many more as well as with practical days on the growing areas.
The next stage of the project will start shortly. This stage will be in two parts:
Part 1 will begin growing foods on the two sites BAMEEN has access to and Part 2 will be more detailed work with individual groups and communities discussing with their needs and aspirations for and from the project.
If you want more information or want to join the project please contact Dawda Jatta on firstname.lastname@example.org or go to bameen.org.uk.