Muddy Boots is the first project of Broadway Social Enterprise.
Why do we do what we do – Muddy Boots and Faith?
For years we have searched for an opportunity to put our faith into action outside the walls of the church. We want to reach our community in ways that help people to meet and interact and which bring healing and wholeness. We believe that God the Creator cares about us and the world we live in- and that He intends us to grow to maturity. The idea is that we grow plants as we help people to grow in physical, mental and emotional health.
It is well-known that working outdoors, especially in green spaces, reduces stress and anxiety and that purposeful work improves self-esteem. We also know that home-grown organic food, uncontaminated by pesticides or any other chemicals and harvested and eaten quickly, is good for health.
Since the summer of 2016 we have been developing the garden behind the offices of the mental health charity, MIND, on Branston Road in Burton on Trent. Thanks to obtaining a grant, we now have a large greenhouse, raised beds, fruit trees and bushes, a willow dome, sensory garden, cottage garden and now a garden room- “More Than a Shed” in which people can relax, read or watch the work going on outside. Creating all this has been hard but enjoyable work involving many people with different skills and abilities- we have become a team.
Some gardeners have expressed their deep sense of satisfaction in the work they are doing, saying it has taken their mind off problems and helped them to feel better.
We are a business! We have to make a profit to plough back into the enterprise. Last year we concentrated on selling our organic vegetables; this year we are focusing more on seedlings, bulbs and cuttings as we can have a more rapid turn-over. We sell to family and friends, our church members, staff and clients of MIND and on May 13th we have our first stall at Burton’s open-air market. It has been a steep learning curve; we have taken lots of advice, notably from a professional organic gardener who has given his time and expertise most generously. We have made many mistakes – and many friends!
We want people of all ages to enjoy the garden: we have had a visit from a class of nursery children who came to explore and plant, some teenagers who are not in conventional school came to help re-furbish the pond and last week we began an after-school family learning group called “Let’s Grow Together” which is run by a Forest School trained staff member of a local pre-school.
We welcome people of all faiths or none, while those of us who are Christians are willing to share our faith with anyone who is interested, or to pray for people. We have occasional short Christian services in the garden, the most recent one being in March when we dedicated the garden room.
Muddy Boots is the first project of Broadway Social Enterprise and we hope during 2017 to move into others- the next probably involving cooking and preparing food. We also have started to sell Broadway Books as an encouragement to read, share and tell stories.
Watch this space – or, better still, come and join us on our regular Thursday garden day or by arrangement. You can e-mail us or leave a message on our Facebook page.
We look forward to hearing from you!
All images by kind permission.