Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Beginning of a Food Growing Revolution

As those of you who follow me on Twitter or on Facebook will know, growing food is my absolute passion. It's something I do because it's just a part of who I am and one of the things I am lucky to not only do myself, but also teach other people to do, hopefully infecting them with the same excitement it has for me.

The Incredible Edible movement has always been of fascination to me, mainly due to the fact that it not only aims for the areas that link into it's ethos to grow within the public sphere but also because it brings different communities together to work on projects and so makes new communities. Often growing anything in the urban landscape is beyond the realms of possibility for many, let alone the idea of growing food, and yet places such as the amazing Todmorden in West Yorkshire have made it possible to do just that, whilst creating communities of people whilst they are gardening.

So when I tweeted last week asking why there was no Incredible Edible Bristol and would anyone be interested I wasn't that surprised to hear people saying they were definitely interested. Bristol is a city of food growing people. Many of them are allotment gardeners but equally there are a myriad of food growing projects that rely on communities to support them and help them with their growing. However, often these are hidden way and not that well publicised and so unless you're looking for a project to work with you may not realise they are there. The city farms all have amazing growing projects and there are several great community allotments and orchards. Incredible Edible Bristol wants to bring the wonderous nature of these projects together to bring food growing to the streets and to the people. We aim to be completely inclusive, to create links between the growing groups, to grow food in and on any spare land we can find both in the city centre and in every area of the city and to give people a learning expereince so that they can go away having learned how to put the idea of growing into practice for themselves.

The scary facts are that Britain is never more than 3 days away from a food crisis and that, mixed with the facts that there are people relying on food banks up and down the country and that often people don't know how to deal with fresh produce and so are slightly put off by it, are terrifying. We rely on a chain of delivery that could fall apart easily as was seen when the fuel tanker drivers went on strike only a few years ago. By creating this project people can take back the responsibility of food production, stop being reliant on the huge supermarkets who are far more interested in their profits than they are in the state of the nation's health and know how and where the food on their tables was produced.

So people of Bristol, "if you eat, you're in"

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Urban Gardening

A little while ago someone said to me that there was no such thing as Urban Gardening and that gardening was gardening full stop. And to a certain degree they were correct in that gardening knowledge and the hows and whys are the same where ever you are. Good soil, water, light and food are vital where ever you garden but, for me, Urban Gardening is not only a thing, but also something I am passionate about.

Imagine living on the 33rd floor of a block of flats. No balcony. No outside space.

Imagine living in a tiny maisonette. No garden. No outside space.

Imagine sharing rented accomodation. No garden access as all paved for easy maintenance by landlord. No outside space.

Imagine all these scenarios and more..........

Gardening in the Urban Landscape just isn't as simple as opening your back door and going outside to your space.

Add into any of the above scenarios children, jobs, time poverty, financial poverty, isolation......

Suddenly it seems impossible to interact with the outdoors let alone actually go outside and grow something.

And this is where the term Urban Gardening arrives. Urban Gardening gives all the people affected by the above, the ability to get out and garden. To interact with the earth and take control of their health by growing food, growing flowers for their inner city spaces, and teaching their children about the seasons and the earth.

I wrote this blog post mainly so I could post this video, but also because this is my real gardening passion. Good knowledge, great teaching and the love of the outdoors ought to be available to all and I for one will always support the need for the Urban Garden.

Because "Gardening makes Communities"