By Jane Jewson
LAST September enthusiastic organic farmer James Machin struck a deal with owner of the then ailing Eden garden centre, on the outskirts of Estepona.
Sick of hearing Javier Gaudioso continuously complain that his palm trees were not selling and the centre was struggling, he came up with an idea.
“Divide the plantation into 100 separate plots and I’ll get them all rented out,” he told him.
And so was born the new ‘Club Eden’.
For James the current recession has actually been a godsend, because at last he has been able to inspire people to ‘grow their own’.
One of a growing band of converts, who shun supermarkets for organic boxes and muddy huertas, he believes his new scheme is the perfect way to feed a growing family.
Divided by rows of palms, each plot is rotivated and organic compost dug in so tenants can begin planting.
After a slow start, 30 of the plots have now been taken and the place is literally pulsing with life.
On any given Sunday, entire families can be found digging, planting and watering their plots.
I spoke to Connie and her daughter Sophie who were planting strawberries. They arrived a month ago and already have lettuces, herbs, onions and many other young plants to nurture.
While Sophie swung from a nearby tree, Connie explained: “It’s such a good atmosphere, everyone is so friendly, my daughter loves it, she’s learning like I am. Plants are swapped and given away
and we have great parties”.
Even better, market gardener Jesus is always on hand with expert advice and, of course, seeds and young plants to sell.
Tools can also be shared and there is ample well water for irrigation.
When not tending his own plot James is rallying troops to build a ‘Chiriguito Eden’ to provide shelter from rain, some shade and somewhere to socialise.
As he explained: “We can grow all year round, no chemicals are allowed so everything is organic.
“It doesn’t matter what you know…anyone can grow their own”.
For more infomation contact James at [email protected]