Gardening at the University of Reading by Florencia Botta

I started gardening as a hobby when I first moved to the UK. I always wanted to try it before, but as I lived in a small space in a highly urban area, I didn’t feel that I could. When I arrived at the University of Reading, I felt like I had the perfect chance to start, and joined the Student Eats at The Secret Garden Society. I had a great experience, which led me to join the society’s committee.

As the 5th – 11th of April was Community Garden Week 2021 and the 27th April – 2nd May is National Gardening Week this is a great time to share all the perks and fun activities you can do by gardening at the university.

Lockdown friendly activity

With the lockdown, many activities have become impossible, and some people struggle to find any reason to leave the house. Becoming involved with a garden (as part of the University’s society or even a community garden near where you live) provides the opportunity for safe physical activity outside.

It has not always been possible as some stages of the lockdown did not allow it. However, this activity can be a safe place to clear your mind, giving you the chance to get some fresh air and exercise.

New friends

Becoming part of a garden is an excellent way of meeting new people, both in person and online.

As a member, you can share lots of fun activities and meet people with similar tastes. Even if you cannot physically attend, you can still meet other members online and share whatever you can do at home. In our society, we have now a WhatsApp and a Facebook group so that all members can regularly connect.

Food production

Gardening can provide you with a different look at food production and the opportunity to grow your very own fruits and veggies. This does not mean you won’t need to do produce shopping again, but it can be helpful and fun. It can also help in reducing your carbon footprint, promoting local production, and sustainability.

You can get creative! Among our latest projects, we are starting a small herb garden & maybe even growing and making tea. We are also always open to new ideas! 😊

Training, skills, and the RED award

Joining a garden community can provide valuables skills. I am embarrassed to say that my formal education did not include food production, gardening, or even home economics. When I first joined, I felt as did not know anything. However, thanks to all the wonderful members, I am now a lot more confident. I have gained skills in gardening, both outdoors and indoors, management and even event organization.

As a student, you can add these practical skills to your CV. You can use the hours you have worked towards the RED award, and If you join the committee, you can have a more significant say in the society’s organization (It also looks good on the CV).

For students, joining is free. If you are not a student, don’t worry, you can also join for a small annual fee. Find out more.

Join the society for free

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