Monikers from Miss Butterfly to Miss Dandelion, there’s no question why the children who get involved with grassroots gardening project literally grow to love the pixie-like Portuguese lady, fondly known as Sandy, creator of the Tottenham based horticultural project, Go Grow.
Sandra Deça (pronounced Dessa) is rooted in the commitment to ‘sow seeds and cultivates futures’. A passion born from her spiritual journey as a mother, she wasted no time in taking her growing skills to schools across the borough while maintaining local community gardens.
Photo supplied: Sandra 'Sandy' Deça creator of Go Grow
With her neat French plaits and her hand carved wooden earrings, Sandy doesn't dress as your bog standard gardener type. Noticing that Sandy is breaking social norms, it got Sista London curious as to how this stylish figure maintains her look with constant dirt under her nails, so she went along to Harmony Gardens in Tottenham’s infamous Broadwater Farm to find out more.
Hi Sandy, blue overalls red lippy with the hand carved wooden earrings, I’m loving the look! What inspired you to begin Go Grow?
Yeah, I know I’m not your average! I used to work as a visual merchandiser for high street retailer, Monsoon, so the styling environments just extended to outside. But once I’d given birth to my son, my mothering nature overtook the need to work full-time for someone else. I began researching and practicing a more holistic lifestyle and discovered the art of gardening. I started out with Tottenham Hale based project Living Under the Sun and the rest is history!
Photo supplied: Sandy and her son
What’s the best part of your work?
Working in schools with the children is my absolute joy. Extending the knowledge and skills I’ve learned to the younger generation is what continually feeds my mother nature vibe. Bringing back grassroots skills that have been lost back into society and more importantly back to Tottenham. The best part being when they give me nicknames after beautiful insects and flowers. Although my least favourite part is getting dirt under my nails but I don’t mind the sacrifice to reap the benefits of freshly grown produce.
You’re originally an Angolan via Portugal, what brought you to the UK?
Life! I first lived in Ladbroke Grove during my teenage years and early adult hood. I used to live on an estate which was a bit notorious so it helps to know that I can handle myself, probably why I feel at home in Broadwater Farm! I feel that it was Tottenham that made me a woman, it’s the first time I felt truly part of a community where I’m able to be of use and put my skills into practice.
Photo supplied: Sandy at Go Grow
You really are a Woman in Tottenham! Where’s your favourite spots?
When the weather warms up I love chilling at Ferry boat Inn, it’s a great meeting spot. I also love hanging out at Wolves Lane garden centre, in and among their massive tropical glasshouse. Otherwise, I’m getting my hands dirty and busy planning, here at Harmony Gardens.
How can people who’d love to become green-fingered get involved?
Friends of Harmony Gardens are always welcoming of people who can spare a few hours of their time to get stuck in, share gardening advice and learn invaluable life skills. We absolutely love volunteers! Come along Fridays 12-3pm.
Photo supplied: Sandy at Go Grow
To find out more follow Go Grow on Facebook or email Friends of Harmony Gardens firstname.lastname@example.org for membership details.