It is good to hear that Garden Organic have finally secured a deal with Coventry University for the purchase of the site. The bad news is that they will close the gardens to the public later this month.
It will not be the same when as I visited for tea and scones nearly 30 years ago and discovered organic gardening. I was recovering from a life threatening illness. Finding organic growing at Ryton not only saved my life it is where I met my partner of 21 years!
It is two years since the Garden Organic announced they were looking to sell the site for housing. After a concerted campaign against that they started talking to Coventry University who have been long term tenants.
Why sell the gardens?
At the time there were justifications for the sale like “organic is now mainstream” which totally missed the point and made wrong assumptions about public knowledge of organics. Their aims and actions should always have been to engage and educate through demonstration gardens, courses, the dissemination of research and by working with members and local groups. It is encouraging to see those intentions restated in the three-year, 2019-2021, business plan:
“By 2023, there will be Garden Organic networks of local organic groups, organic demonstration gardens, education and training events, projects and programmes, and Ambassadors/Trustees throughout the UK.”
Fine words but we still need more – see the next post.