Community greenprint

Community green space, launches at the Old Print Works.

A new community green space, Gaia’s Garden, has launched at the Old Print Works, in Balsall Heath.

Gaia’s Garden, which was unveiled to the public on Saturday 14th May, will provide local residents with a green space to use and enjoy throughout the summer months, promoting sustainability, creativity, and community spirit.

Scores of the area’s diverse community turned out on the day to see the sites transformation, lend a helping hand and donate much-needed materials to help the garden flourish, as well as enjoy freshly prepared, homemade food from Ort Cafe, live music from local artists DJ Silence and Onira, and artwork from talented local artist, Hoakser.

Following the weekend’s launch, Gaia’s Garden will now be open to the public every Saturday from 10am-3pm, where local residents can drop in to check out the space and get their fingers green. The sessions will offer locals the chance to learn new skills regardless of gardening experience, as well as make a positive difference within their community, connect them with new people, and enjoy some fresh air and gentle exercise.

Over the coming weeks, the team of volunteers will work together to build raised beds from up-cycled pallets, plant and grow fruits, vegetables and useful plants, transforming the ex-factory courtyard into a thriving community garden. The project will culminate with an Autumn harvest, where volunteers will enjoy the fruits of their labour at a feast prepared in The Old Print Works outdoor kitchen using the homegrown, freshly picked produce from Gaia’s Garden.

The person behind Gaia’s Garden, Tessa Burwood, said: “It’s amazing to see the transformation that has taken place, and this is especially thanks to pallet donors Jamie Begg from Seed Furniture, and Ciaran Healey from the Old Crown. It is always a challenge to maintain green spaces in urban settings, and we wanted to make sure from the outset that Gaia’s Garden was as agile as possible.

“For this reason, we called on locally based carpenter Luca Pau to design modular beds, adapted from the donated pallets, that can easily be transferred to any outdoor setting, so that Gaia’s Garden can remain in bloom, whether it is here at the Old Print Works, or elsewhere in Birmingham.

“It has been such a pleasure to begin growing this fertile and abundant space in the heart of inner city Balsall Heath and we have been really encouraged by the neighbourhood’s support for the project.”

Also under the same umbrella as local non-profit organisation Brum Spirit, the project strives to make a positive impact on the city, unite community members from all walks of life, and teach locals about sustainability and wider global issues.

A spokesperson from the Old Print Works said: “We are really delighted to be helping develop Gaia’s Garden at The Old Print Works. It’s important for people to have local spaces and opportunities to connect with nature, be involved in growing beautiful and useful plants and then to be able to experiment with harvesting and using them. This fits in well with the overall aim of The Old Print Works to be a place of making, connecting, creativity and skill sharing towards a more resilient, sustainable and cooperative future.”

Gaia’s Garden at the Old Print Works, Balsall Heath, will be open every Saturday from 10am-3pm.

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