Ross’s Incredible Story

Incredible Edible and Me
It’s been almost a year since I met Sara Venn and the amazing folks at Incredible Edible Bristol and it’s one of the best things to have happened to me over the past few years.

At the time of meeting I’d had a pretty rough couple of months. I’d lost my job, my relationship and ended up with nowhere to live. During this time something inside of me had changed, something fairly fundamental, it felt like something was missing – but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. Turned out what was missing was gardening, and volunteering.

I’d found somewhere to live but I was still feeling a little blue. I decided I needed a hobby. A hobby that would keep me active, teach me new skills and allow me to meet new people. So, on a whim, I took over an allotment plot. I’m still not a hundred percent why. I’d never grown anything up to this point. The plot was overgrown and overrun with weeds. I had no money. I was woefully out of my depth. So I applied to go on Monty Don’s Big Dreams, Small Spaces telly show, as you do. My reasoning being, you may as well go hard or go home. But the above problems would become even more apparent on TV, and I knew that Monty’s visits would be fleeting. I needed a proper mentor. So I contacted Sara at incredible Edible. I asked, she said yes. The job got done – and done well.

Since then I have tried to attend an Incredible Edible work party weekly at least – work and weather permitting. I am always amazed at the general awesomeness of all the other volunteers. At how easy everyone is to get on with. The knowledge that is shared. The creativity. And ultimately, the passion everyone has and just gets on with the job required and to a very high standard. The spaces that have been transformed, especially at Bristol’s Bear Pit, has been nothing short of, well, incredible. I’m especially looking forward to spending a bit of time at the Incredible Edible garden at RHS Malvern.

Then there is the act of growing itself. Why didn’t someone tell me how rewarding it was? Sometimes it involves a workout worthy of any trip to the gym. Sometimes it’s an exercise in gentle reflection, or mindfulness. The results of my own attempts at growing have been mixed at best, but when it goes right, you get a real sense of achievement. Then there’s the research and planning element. It ticks a lot of boxes.

When I took over the allotment I had no idea if I’d enjoy it or keep it going, but thanks to the gang at Incredible Edible I think I’ve found something to fill that missing part of me. I’ve learnt so much and had such an enjoyable time volunteering over the past year that I don’t think I’ll ever stop.