The Beautiful Parks Project – Heal earth vision and the story of dreamers and growers by Ronnie Hughes

Heal Earth Vision

Imagine an organic farming revolution. One that builds soil rather than depletes it and saves seed rather than destroys it. Right now, millions of women are behind this work. They believe in tomorrow. And their work is changing the world.

Behind Heal Earth there are some incredible women and men working together to bringing this vision into reality too. But we want to see every pocket of derelict piece of land in cities or isolated rural areas turned in to nature oasis, productive market gardens, therapeutic gardens, community run sustainable urban farms where local people can transform their spaces and and a result transform their lives and earn decent income for themselves and their community.

We want to encourage women and man to work together to create a better world where every person is empowered and equipped with skills and opportunities to create, design and contribute to this transformation.

We have joined the  BEAUTIFUL IDEAS CO  gatherings from the Invitation happened in late October 2017 to talk about how parks and open spaces can be transformed and tell thier own story.

Here it is how it began…

The Story of the The Beautiful Parks

By Ronnie Hughes

So the gatherings from the Invitation happened in late October 2017 and the story began. Small things at first & many.

Listen I’m telling you a story, let’s imagine…

The things that then started to happen were not just in the obvious parks. It turned out Liverpool had green spaces all over the place. Down so many streets and forgotten corners, allotment plots and, yes, the obvious parks and all the others that no one lived too far from in our greenest of cities.

People knew they were not starting from nothing. The awakenings of groups of friends and the ‘let’s just try it’ of small beginnings had so much to build on. The plantings of so many new trees, the herb gardens, the existing park runs and junior runs, the craft shows and markets, even a dog show. Plus of course the big park events that had grown from such a small beginning so long ago like Africa Oyé.

Listen, I’m telling you a story of growth and abundance.

Early in the change and the trying out of things the plantings multiplied. Filling the empty and unobserved green corners and engaging the wonderments of the children. Market gardens quickly flourished and even a few animals began to graze again in places they’d grazed long before.

Gradually the city rediscovered the earth beneath its feet and remembered how to go about feeding itself. Fresh local food began to turn up in the foodbanks while they were still needed and in the schools as a matter of course. People fairly soon became used to the food they could see growing around them and the children began to bring food home that hadn’t been used, as the city’s sense of abundance grew.

Listen, I’m telling you a story of life and its living.

As the abundance grew and needed working on and harvesting people became less sheltered, less inward-looking, remembering each other. No one was left out, as more and more people were needed to bring in the harvests that began to see off austerity, and to organise the beginnings of the social stuff that started happening naturally as the gathering grew.

Early on, as life changed, typical days around the city might start with some exercise, runs for young and older, some Tai Chi, yoga, even martial arts for the little ones. Then there’d be breakfasts from the mobile kitchens before some work. Planting, weeding and cultivating, advised and helped by some of the local allotment holders. With all sorts else to do during these days.

Much got tried out that everyone remembers: the ‘Scouse as Streetfood’ movement; building the mountain bike trails; the community acupuncture and so many other health sessions started; the touring café began round the parks with no catering; the Mystery Literary Festival that started so small at first; then all the Harvest Festivals we love so much. So many new social and community enterprises coming up with so much that got tried out and so many things that seemed obvious, afterwards. Once we all started to get used to them and began to live so much in the outdoors again.

As these early outdoor days grew late the story-telling would start, and the dancing, the bonfires and yes, the suppers as the sun set. Food we’d grown ourselves, stories made up by us, music from the whole rich mix of us and days we’d only dreamed of. Days the children quickly grew to think were the way of things in their Liverpool, never having known otherwise.

Listen, I’m telling you a story but I can’t tell you everything.

I can only tell you these beginnings that happened in the years just following 2017. Some of these beginnings took root, some of them didn’t, as is the way of things. But all of them began, and they provoked what came to be looked back on as a time of great curiosity. Of so many asking “Why weren’t we? Why couldn’t we? What if we? And then?”

Well then everything began changing. The chapters of this story still to be written got started by small groups of people all over the city. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one” we’d think quietly as we gathered in the libraries, schools, church halls, community centres, allotment sheds, glass houses, your house and everywhere else we lived and worked. Making up the stories of what came next.

This particularly became the new golden age of our libraries. The storehouses of our memories became the open access engine-houses of our plans and dreams as we worked on the continuing details of the future we’d started. The future of Liverpool.

Listen, I’m telling you a story, the story of Liverpool.

The city that grew so much of its own future by beginning to lay its hands on its own lands. The common lands, the green lands, always there and just waiting to be remembered. Waiting only on the imaginations of the dreaming people of the place. Waiting for us. Waiting for you.

Do you think you could grow things – or mow things? Watch performers; eat, drink and exercise? Create a gallery or a workshop space? Teach, tell a story or train in a new sport?

Or you might need a building as part of your idea – there’s also an opportunity to explore ideas for some community-facing buildings. The limit is your imagination. But your idea should be designed to do good in that place.

Have an idea? Apply here

Thank you for listening to my story. Soon there will be new stories being born. Stories you might be a part of

More about The Beautiful Parks Project will be on their own website and on here. What do you think? What ideas have you got?




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