Gerry Tisser is one of the most energetic members of Daubeney Fields Forever, a community group that is leading the charge to make Daubeney a natural “Park Neighbourhood”. In this update Gerry reflects on the 10 x Greener project and our first sprint weekend. These to days included a Make & Take day and a volunteer day to make the neighbourhood 10 x Greener.
In February, when we were still in the final throws of winter, an idea was planted in Daubeney Primary School. What if we came together to make one street in our neighbourhood 10x Greener?
Around 50 people turned up to hear the idea. They came not just from Daubeney Road but also from the streets and neighbourhood around Daubeney Road. They planted the idea in their own heads and took it away.
A month later we held our first 10x Greener event. At 10 O’clock on a Saturday morning a small advance party set up on the junction of Daubeney Road and Redwald Road. They brought dozens of large flower pots, bags of compost and packets of seed – flax and poppies and sweet William. Plants with names out of children’s stories – Morning Glory, Candytuft, Love in a Mist.
People started arriving – children came with parents, adults with friends. They filled the flower pots with compost and sowed them with seeds. Then they took them away to put in front gardens. Four hours later well over 100 people had taken away flowerpots.
The idea was also growing in other ways too. John from the Clapton Park Estate and Sam from Hackney Council Parks made habitat panels for bees and invertebrates. Volunteers, young and old, filled them with willow, bamboo and baby logs drilled with holes for the bees to lay their eggs in. At the far end of Daubeney Road, a painter called Mark sketched a sparrow-hawk high on a house. A guy called Mike came from Islington to encourage us to put up nesting boxes for swifts and sparrows. Local residents started talking about setting up community gardens on Landmark Heights and Kingsmead Estate.
By Sunday we thought we may have run out of steam. But another posse turned up to clear litter off the street and scatter seeds around the trees on the pavement. People came back from the day before to help. By the end of the day every tree down Daubeney Road – and several others on neighbouring streets – had been seeded. That’s over 70 trees.
The energy at our first 10x Greener event was extraordinary. I can’t wait for our next weekend event on 21/22 April. We’ll give out wooden flat packs to make into planters to put on the windowsills of every house on Daubeney Road. We’ll also give out hanging planters for the front balconies on every flat on Landmark Heights. The BBC Natural History Unit will come along to film the activity.
The 10x Greener idea is growing. Neighbours on Trehurst Street have set up a 10x Greener WhatsApp group and pots of flowers are appearing outside bike shelters. A single idea can be a simple idea – even a small idea. But when we multiply all our ideas tenfold – we make a really Big Idea.