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Minerva Group

The Minerva Apothecary Garden is a space alongside the Grand Union Canal made in collaboration with Alberta Whittle, next to Grand Union Gallery and Studios. We have transformed formerly unused space into a garden full of herbs and flowers, all with medicinal properties.

A landscape image of a blue shed-like structure with red details on the doors. Raised wooden flower beds in front of the blue building hold flourishing green plants and small flowers. A few figures sit in the garden, partially obscured by the plants.

The Bothy and Minerva Garden, made in collaboration with Alberta Whittle, Digbeth, Birmingham, June 2022. Image by Patrick Dandy.

Working with MJM Bespoke, the Minerva Apothecary Garden was designed and constructed to include planters, seating and outdoor cooking facilities. Developed in collaboration with women’s support organisations in the West Midlands, this garden is central to developing knowledge around growing and healing practices and fostering connections between plants and people.

With referrals for participants from Anawim, SIFA, and CRISIS Skylight, we host our weekly Minerva Garden Group for people who are in a time of crisis, in need of community support, or experience gender oppression. This group is for all women, non-binary, trans, intersex, a-gender and people who do not identify solely or primarily as men. Each week the group partake in engagement sessions that are linked to growing, cooking, and making.

These sessions always begin with us all reading the ‘Being Together at Grand Union’ document aloud, which helps us create a safe and inclusive space. This document was written collaboratively the group, and is continually updated to reflect discussions and developments within the group, responding to needs, as and when they arise.

Below is a video made with the Minerva Garden Group, talking about what the Growing Project means to them and how our work in the Minerva Garden makes them feel:

Over the past few years, the Minerva Garden Group have worked with Joanne Masding (Modern Clay), Chloe Qureshi, Kate Thompson, Rebecca Noble, Sarah Hamilton-Baker, and Chloë Lund to develop recipes for tea, to cook (and eat) together, to maintain the garden space and expand it and to develop their own practice in tea blending for community enterprise, performative storytelling and creative production.

With the Minerva Group we have been working on producing products such as teas with Chloë Lund and bespoke ceramics with Jo Masding from Modern Clay as part of our social enterprise work.