Auticulture Network was formed earlier this year by autistic adults, for autistic adults with an interest in nature and gardening. Although, these can come way down the list of activities should someone be in need of a bit of support and encouragement.
The restorative nature of an outdoor activity such as gardening is becoming much better documented and recognised than in the past and is the reason this was chosen as the focus for the group which provides safe spaces to get away, be alone or not be alone as required. The gardening spaces are designed to be conducive to communal or solitary activity as preferred and are currently housed within two sites in the city of Glasgow, Scotland,
Another goal of the group has been to note obstacles in forming the group as this is entirely self motivated and not part of any official service at all, so it took some convincing to be allowed any growing space at all, even to begin, before the word could be put out for other interested parties to get used to the idea of joining a new group. Sessions are kept to a small number of people, too and separate sessions can be arranged for partners and carers of autistic adults so they can relax and compare experiences – a good way to reduce isolation.
The reason for noting these experiences gives a clue to the name of the group. Auti is from autism and we share other cultural interests besides horticulture – a play on that word completed that part of the name. The other reason to note experience was to share this experience as we share our blueprint for setting up similar groups anywhere around the country so we build a network of gardening-focused groups each sharing experience so we can help more people to help themselves and attain the fulfilment of many ambitions through their own group.
There are many upcoming projects and a collaboration with the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow has given rise to expanding horizons in joint projects with Bakery 47 and Tchai Ovna, both in Glasgow. There is the exciting Green Man Project soon to be announced too, so do take a look at the website at: www.auticulture.net or look for the group on Facebook and Twitter. If you like baking there is an event you can join in too – wherever you are! On Monday, September 14th you can bake a bread that reflects your view of Glasgow – or even your home city – and post a picture and a description on Twitter at #TheGlasgowLoaf. It’s just a bit of fun but it’s a way to recognise and accept different viewpoints and different cultures with something common within most cultures – bread and the sharing of food and conversation. Of course, should you be interested in starting a group of your own to join the network, just make contact through the website.
Meanwhile, there are crops to harvest, recipes to swap and plans to make. There are plenty of activities for the winter months too, so no time to waste. It is very satisfying!