The above images are from a long established community garden on an estate in Laindon right up by the A127. The garden is managed by a Basildon & Southend Housing Action (BASHA) activist in conjunction with a number of residents on the estate.

In the time of crisis we’re in as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s initiatives like this that help to boost community morale. This comes not just from the physical improvements to the look of the estate. It also comes from participating in the maintenance of the garden.

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis where we’re bombarded with news and opinion 24/7, it’s all too easy to feel powerless in the face of it all. This is particularly true when we’re faced with a maelstrom of conflicting opinions, advice and pontificating politicians.

Maintaining a community garden gives residents something they feel they can control. Having something you have full control over is a welcome boost to morale in the ongoing shitestorm we’re having to endure. Not only that, as the year goes on, the garden will start to yield crops of various vegetables. While that doesn’t come anywhere near full self sufficiency, it’s a welcome addition to the diet.

The good news is that BASHA have had contact with an activist who’s helping to organise a community garden near(ish) to the BASHA one in Laindon. This is exactly what we want to see. Grassroots organised community gardens springing up all over the place giving people a sense of control. Obviously, physical distancing protocol needs to be observed – the point is that most people have the common sense to do that and then just get on with things.