Enter P.A.M. x Puma’s Bio/Verse with the help of Grubber Community.
Commemorating the launch of the P.A.M. x Puma Bio/Verse collaboration, the first of four collections, take a trip into the wonderful world of nature with London-based social initiative Grubber Community.
Constructed with materials that are between 20% and 100% recycled, the Bio/Verse project is born from a desire to help preserve the world’s natural biodiversity through engaging those who form Perks & Mini’s universe of publishing, music, fashion, art and nightlife.
Reflecting on the core values of P.A.M. x Puma, Grubber’s outlook mirrors the two brands’ dedication to expanding awareness of important environmental issues and projects. Established as a means to educate and bring together communities through a positive attitude towards plants and the natural world, Grubber champions reconnecting with the outdoors and plant life, hoping to create healthier relationships and bonds with the ecosystems around us. Building a community that celebrates the natural world by hosting talks, workshops and rambling trips, the Grubber Community’s aim is to provide affordable and free learning opportunities that range from modern environmentalism to plant care.
During the first lockdown I was out of work and had a lot of spare time on my hands so began tending to the garden in my rented house. Improving the soil and beginning to grow vegetables came naturally to me as someone who grew up in the countryside with gardening family members. It occurred to me that this ancestral know-how isn’t something that everyone has, especially in cities. I began sharing veg and herbs that I’d grown with friends as well as self-propagated houseplants, sharing the knowledge. My main learnings came from people and organisations such as Land In Our Names who address land justice as a centre point for issues around food insecurity, health inequalities, environmental injustice & widespread disconnect from nature. Plus listening to many podcasts such as Farmerama and anything Soul Fire Farm are speaking on. From here I decided to operate project by project to invite people to feel a part of nature.
At Grubber’s core it’s about reframing nature to allow people to see that it has always been there for them. Since the initiative started in 2020 there have been many enriching experiences. We curated an exhibition with the Asian-artist platform Baesianz, exploring ways in which we can begin to decolonise nature and our relationships with it. Three Plant-life flea markets have taken place where a selection of nature-enthusiasts come together to exchange and sell their creations, from foraged baked goods to homemade fertiliser. It is always so refreshing to see how people create with natural materials, breaking away from the ideals of traditional English gardening. Recently I facilitated a sculptural seed-bomb-making workshop at a community garden in Margate. The sculptures were inspired by harvest good luck charms. Again, it was so interesting to see how different people from a wide age range interpreted the idea. The workshop got us thinking about baron areas that needed an injection of plant life in which to throw the seed bombs! Through these projects Grubber aims to bring gardening back to a community ecosystem, one in which you don’t need money, you just need to share and exchange with others.
The most obvious way is through our hiking/walking club, the Grubber Ramblers. Once a month we head to a new location, sometimes in London and sometimes further afield but never more than 1.5 hours away. It’s a very relaxed way to make new friends and an amazing skill-sharing experience, you end up learning a new plant to forage every time. Many of the Ramblers had never been on a hike before or navigated a turnstile, so we like to cultivate a supportive environment where you don’t feel out of place. The sign-off for every ramble announcement is always “Grubber Ramblers is a club for people who like to uplift others and greet people and the environment with nothing but love”. The whole experience shows you that you can explore nature without any special equipment or expert knowledge. We are also big on packed lunches!
There’s a disconnect, between wanting to be closer to nature but destroying it in the process. Many people want plants so they can feel connected with their love of nature at home. However more often than not most plants are either grown in the Netherlands and shipped to us here in the U.K often being grown using heated tunnels or greenhouses that require artificial sources of light, water and heat. Another way they are mass produced is being grown in their origin country e.g tropical countries using less man-made energy to grow them, but the distance travelled is vastly increased causing damage to the environment. Plus, some countries have limited freshwater sources to grow the plants causing damage to local areas.
Gardening is a gateway to realising that you can feed yourself and learn in your own unique way. When you garden you try something new every year, sometimes it fails and sometimes it succeeds, so you repeat the same process again the following year. It teaches patience, determination and not feeling disheartened when something doesn’t grow. It gives you the perfect skills for flourishing in life in general. We’re hoping to get stuck into some projects with our friends at Library Garden, a community garden in Forest Hill next year. They do drop-in gardening sessions if you want to help out!
It's hard to say as I’m very much in an environment where people actively seek it out. But I think there’s more information out there now and I see people talking about peat-free compost for example on the TV, which is amazing. (Peat bogs are amazing at storing carbon and by cultivating peat for garden-use we are causing damage to the planet).
On a personal level, it’s shown me that I have valid knowledge and experiences to share with other people. At school I was never academic, and I think that can make you feel unintelligent. But I’ve found that because it’s something I’m so passionate about I’m able to retain the information. I love having a project in the works, they always lead to meeting new amazing people who are new to nature or have been working with it in alternative creative ways.