Green Growth from Seeds of Change: GWL has a Green Thumb!

Amelia shares some final reflections

Over the past 30 years Glasgow Women’s Library (GWL) has encouraged gardening as a fun pass time for women and also used it as a way to encourage them to get more involved with the environment and tackle green issues. Gardening is an exciting way to brighten the local area as well as learning more about the biodiversity of the local ecosystem.

Show image of an article written in the GWL newsletter called the 'The Plot Thickens'. Black and white image of a woman kneeling on a vegetable patch smiling.
(GWL Newsletter, Issue 26, Summer 2003. The Plot Thickens…)

In the Spring 2003 issue of the GWL newsletter, the library advertised a 6-week learning opportunity called Bright Green Living that encouraged people to sign up and learn more about the environment around them. One of the activities that this course took part in was working on the GWL’s allotment plot, this was then written about in the following two issues of the newsletter. The articles details how women from diverse backgrounds came together to work on the garden and had great fun! It was a great opportunity for some to share their expert knowledge on all things agricultural whilst other, who may have been more beginner, could learn how to develop their green fingers. After the initial job of clearing and taming all the weeds, they were able to plant lots of flowers and organic vegetables as well as developing a composting system. Along with being a fun activity to get involved in, it also had a positive environmental impact as it improves the biodiversity of the area and encourages local wildlife to thrive. Also, growing your own produce is a great and easy way to reduce your carbon footprint!

front cover of the GWL newletter summer 2003. Shows woman and child in garden surrounded by flowers with the title 'Blooming! seeds of change'.
(GWL Newsletter, Issue 26, Summer 2003. The Plot Thickens…)

In the following years GWL continued to promote the importance of gardening and getting in touch with the outdoors. In 2004, the library ran a Lifelong Learning Course to encourage women to get greener fingered and possibly become interested in joining the Women’s Gardening Club. The course lasted 3 days and was led by ‘Garden Doctor’, Laura Gamwell, it educated the participants on which crops were best to grow at different times of year, how to plant different vegetables and how to structure the garden to guarantee the best crop. The course seemed to be a resounding success with lots of valuable information being passed on by Laura that could help them maintain the garden for many years to come.

Two years later, in 2006, GWL ran two more Lifelong Learning events centred around getting women outdoors and appreciating nature, Women Dig It In and Flower Power. Women Dig It In was to encourage volunteers to get involved with the library’s garden as a way to get back in touch with the Earth and be part of something that created satisfying and delicious results. The Flower Power course related to the former as it was all about bookmaking and art based around the outdoors and nature. This included flower-pressing, painting and journaling, all culminating in the creation of a book made by each person all about the joys of being in the garden and the outdoors. As well as individuals creating their own book they also got to contribute to a group book all based around the GWL community garden! This was a great was to combine people’s love of art and creating things with the initiative to get women outside and thinking about the environment they live in. They may have even been inspired to spend more time in nature after the event and add more to their book.

Glasgow Women’s Library has always been passionate about the importance of gardening and helping women become more connected to nature and the outdoors. This passion has not dwindled in recent years either, the current Green Cluster are very excited about maintaining the library’s garden and outdoor spaces, as well as the planters they have at Bridgeton train station. When I spoke to members of the cluster they said they really hope to start using the outside space for more events in the future and are still very keen to encourage more women to get connected with the environment. Gardening, and growing things, is not only a fun activity than can help bring the community together, it also has a positive impact on the environment whilst helping the library move towards their goal of becoming carbon neutral, through things such as composting. Maybe the G in GWL should really stand for green thumb!

Why not get involved in the library garden for yourself!

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