Since Bandstand Beds began in 2013 we’ve held a community feast each autumn to celebrate our growing season’s harvest. Sadly, due to Covid this wasn’t possible last year. But on a brighter note, one of the good things to come out of Covid has been the closure of Clapham Common’s Windmill Drive, the road beside Bandstand Beds. This has had a really positive impact on our garden, so this year we decided to hold an extra-special Feast & Car Free Celebration on Windmill Drive on Saturday 25 September.
As always there was a lot of planning in the lead up to the event, and an early start on the day. Chef Rena and our team of cooks arrived on site just after 8.15am, donned their pinnies and began harvesting and chopping our homegrown squash and other veg for the chickpea curry.
With the sound of sizzling from the hob and the delicate aroma of the spices wafting across the garden, the rest our team of volunteers got on with setting up the stalls and activities on Windmill Drive.
The curry was served with turmeric-infused bulgur wheat, cucumber and pomegranate raita, nan bread, tomato salad, poppadoms and chutney. Mm… it was delicious! The only complaint we received was when the curry food ran out. But luckily, we had lots of cakes for dessert, including delicious brownies donated by Pear Tree Café at the Bandstand and The Terrace by Megan’s on Rookery Road.
With lunch under their belt the kids got down to some seriously creative scarecrow building. This was followed by storytelling, all about the scarecrow who looks after the garden when nobody’s around.
At the end of the story the children were introduced to Penelope Pumpkin and two free-to-enter competitions, with a first prize of a £25 gift voucher from Odonno’s, books and other goodies for each of the winners. All they had to do was guess the weight of Penelope P or the date she was sown.
It was fantastic to also have Butterfly Conservation and Froglife with us, talking about their work, the impact of global warming on invertebrates and amphibians and the need to protect and increase wildlife habitat.
A huge problem for frogs and toads is having to cross busy roads on their annual return to breeding grounds in spring. We need more wildlife tunnels.
Of course, our event was very much about making the road through Clapham Common more accessible to people and perhaps thinking about alternative ways of getting around other than by car. As always, it was great to have Dr Bike with us for some free cycle maintenance.
At the end of the day everyone gathered round the storytelling stand to award the Penelope Pumpkin prizes and draw the tickets for our raffle. Local businesses donated lots of wonderful prizes*, including gift vouchers worth £100 from Waitrose Clapham Junction and Neal’s Nurseries Garden Centre.
From the raffle and donations received for food on the day, and our stall with jams, chutneys and pickles made from our garden produce, we raised just under £1577. This money has been used to cover the cost of this community event and will help keep our garden growing.
It was amazing to be able to hold our feast again this year. It really was a wonderful community celebration. Thank you to everyone who came along to take part and support the event. We look forward to seeing you in our garden again soon.
*Raffle prizes. BBA would like to thank the following businesses for their support and generous donations: Waitrose, Neal’s Nurseries Garden Centre, Oddono’s, The Abbeville, M.Moen & Sons, COOK Clapham, ECO, Clapham Picturehouse, Verde London, MacFarlane’s Deli, Minnow , The Rose & Crown and VE Kitchen.