Cultivating Connections: A Journey in Fundraising for Earth Trust

In the tranquil town of Wallingford, nestled alongside the serene riverbanks, a small initiative has blossomed into a meaningful connection between nature, community, and fundraising. Bib Pike shares with us her story behind the charming plant stall that has become a shining example of community engagement.

Earth Trust community fundraising

Bib’s journey with Earth Trust began through the Sylva Foundation. Hearing about Earth Trust while on a canoe paddle-making course at Sylva, she was immediately drawn to the Trust’s mission of environmental stewardship and education. Bib and her husband, Johnny, had recently made a decision to move home and settle in Wallingford to be closer to nature. Living by the river and enjoying canoeing was a major part of their new lives.

Johnny began devoting his time to volunteering with Earth Trust’s Education team, while Bib pondered how she could contribute, whist juggling a full-time job. Inspired by friends who had embarked on similar ventures, she conceived the idea of a plant and produce stall, aligning perfectly with Earth Trust’s ethos of fostering connections with nature.

“We started up in the autumn, so we harvested leftover walnuts and apples from Earth Trust Centre, anything that wasn’t be used or sent to the foodbanks, and sold those. We’d say to people, it’s come from Earth Trust, and all the proceeds will go back to Earth Trust. It felt like a really nice cycle,” Bib tells us.

What started as a humble stall selling surplus produce from Earth Trust’s gardens soon evolved into a seasonal showcase of plants, handmade crafts and natural products. From wooden reindeer to willow hearts, each item bore the imprint of sustainability and craftsmanship.

“At Christmas, we made wooden reindeer and snowmen, all out of wood of various sizes. Some of them, big enough to stand on your front doorstep; some of them, little enough to just sit on your window sill. We also put out homemade Christmas tree decorations, all just cut out of wood.”

Bib’s has also got her mum involved, helping to grow plants and herbs as well as supplying cooking apples from the tree in her garden. “We lost my father a couple of years ago, and it’s given her something really nice to focus on as well,” Bib explains.

Earth Trust community fundraising plant sale in wallingford

The impact of Bib’s stall has reached far deeper than mere transactions, becoming a hub for fostering connections within the community. Being next to a welcoming bench, just at the top of their garden, Bib’s stall provides a respite for passers by, encouraging moments of conversation and contemplation in a natural setting.

Reflecting on the profound connections forged through this initiative, Bib emphasises, “It’s been a lovely way of meeting people, having only recently moved to the area, just to have a focus to talk to people about, rather than just hello, I’m new, talk to me.”

“It’s also been really nice getting to know more about the work that Earth Trust does, which absolutely fits with my ethos. I’ve always worked in physical activity in the outdoors and I’m passionate about public access to green space. So just knowing that I’m making a very small contribution to supporting Earth Trust’s work, and also raising awareness of what Earth Trust does, is really rewarding.”

Through her journey, Bib offers a poignant reminder that fundraising doesn’t need to be grandiose to be impactful. It is about finding what resonates with you and weaving it into the fabric of your community. As she aptly puts it, “Do what works for you.”

In the simplicity of a plant stall by the riverbank, Bib has found personal fulfilment, community engagement, and a sense of purpose. It goes to show the power of small actions and the profound connections that bloom when we nurture our relationship with nature and each other.