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Category — England

Young volunteers ‘excluded’ from working at City Farm in London

kidsdisShola Fellows and Claudia Cruz at the Farm Family protest.

30 children and young people with disabilities looked after animals at Brooks Farm

By Natalie Glanvill
This is Local London
19th August 2014

Excerpt:

A group of young volunteers, which has helped out at a city farm for 30 years, will not be allowed to work there after it changed hands, it has emerged.

The ‘Farm Family’, which includes about 30 children and young people with disabilities, or those at risk of getting involved in crime, looked after animals at Brooks Farm in Skeltons Lane Park, Leyton, when it was managed by Waltham Forest council.

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August 26, 2014   No Comments

Create a world class urban agriculture hub on Bristol’s Blue Finger – Britain

Petition to Mayor of Bristol to Protect Bristol’s highly fertile food growing land from road building and other damaging development.

Petition by
The Blue Finger Alliance
August 2014

Excerpt:

Any city that wishes to thrive in an unpredictable future must act now to upscale sustainable food production in ways that directly benefit the health and wellbeing, and the local economy of that city. We should not be endorsing a public transport system that undermines our ability to do this.

The area under threat is part of an area known as the Blue Finger (Grade 1 is coded blue on agricultural classification maps). Soil of this quality covers less than 3% of the UK and this is set to diminish as sea levels rise and extremes of climate increase.

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August 13, 2014   No Comments

Report predicts value of London’s edible gardens at £1.4 million – and counting

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“We know that London can’t feed itself but the aim of this initiative was to see just how much food we can grow…”

Capital Growth
A Sustain Publication
July 2014

London’s food growing gardens and urban farms are producing food worth at least £1.4 million per year, according to a new report published today by Capital Growth, London’s food growing network. Using data collected by a sample of 160 food growing spaces located in community gardens, schools, allotments, parks and farms across the capital, the report shows how veg patches all over London are putting fresh, seasonal and ultra-local food on thousands (and potentially millions) of plates.

The weights of community-grown fruit, vegetables, honey and eggs were recorded by members of the Capital Growth food growing network, which has over 2,000 registered spaces, many based in low-income areas of London. “We know that London can’t feed itself but the aim of this initiative was to see just how much food we can grow, and we have been able to use our innovative online Harvest-ometer tool to record the harvest of a wide range of different growing spaces,” explained Sarah Williams from Capital Growth. “The response has been extremely positive, with about one tenth of our member spaces clocking up over £150,000 of produce during the course of a year, and contributing portions of healthy fruit and veg to over a quarter-of-a-million meals”

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August 13, 2014   No Comments

The Big Allotment Challenge: The Patch – Grow Make Eat

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By Tessa Evelegh
Hodder & Stoughton
10 April 2014

Growing your own fruit and vegetables is surprisingly easy whatever the size of your garden or allotment. You don’t need to be entirely self-sufficient but there’s nothing more satisfying than being able to harvest your own tomatoes, snip a few leaves from a salad bed or make strawberry jam from home-grown strawberries. And by planting some easy-to-grow flowering plants it’s perfectly possible to have freshly picked cut flowers to decorate your table.

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July 9, 2014   Comments Off

Hampton Court Palace’s Kitchen Garden

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The gardens produced horticultural baubles, edible novelties and actual food between 1702 and 1840

By Sandra Lawrence
Londonist
June 12, 2014

Excerpt:

King Hal’s jousting fields were ripped up and turned into six one-acre, up-to-the-minute kitchen gardens. They were given plenty of walls to provide warmth and shelter for tender new delicacies such as apricots and peaches, and plenty of room for Her Majesty’s every other veg-related whim.

Expensive luxuries like potatoes, tomatoes and runner beans. Tender peas, fresh from the pod, not the dried up pebbles that peasants ate. Asparagus, squashes, fancy salad. A lot of fancy salad.

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June 22, 2014   Comments Off

London’s growing heroes – urban farming in the city

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People benefit from coming to the farm and slowing down a bit. Photo by Jonathan Cherry.

Grab a pitchfork and pitch in with your local community food growers

The Guardian
June 21, 2014

Excerpt:

Jack Astbury leads Keats Community Organics, an organically certified urban farm on five disused acres in Welling, south-east London. It’s early days – the project was launched on Big Dig Day this March – but the current salad crop will soon be boosted by courgettes, French beans, runner beans, tomatoes and chillies, then kale and winter salads.

Jack is one of an expanding, and youthful, band of community food growers, whose former project, Food From the Sky, was an innovative garden on the roof of a Crouch End supermarket.

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June 21, 2014   Comments Off

A Conversation With Oscar Rodriguez On Urban Farming

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Oscar Rodriguez, the founder of Architecture & Food, which is a company that works with organizations on building vertical farming.

By Emy Muzzi
Urban Times
June 4, 2014

Excerpt:

Here’s a basic, ‘ridiculous’ calculation: London has 20,000 hectares (200,000,000 sqm) of roofscape, most of it pitched, and a population of 8.2 million people. By retrofitting horticultural greenhouses employing high productivity growing tech with a conservative 40kg/sqm/yr productivity onto half that area (10,000 hectares) you could produce enough to supply 1.3 kg of vegetables per person per day which is 380 percent of the average daily U.K. fruit and vegetable consumption of 350g.

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June 13, 2014   Comments Off

A Green and Pleasant Land: How England’s Gardeners Fought the Second World War

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‘War is the normal occupation of man – war and gardening’ Winston Churchill

By Ursula Buchan
Windmill Books, part of Cornerstone Publishing
2013

The wonderfully evocative story of how Britain’s World War Two gardeners – with great ingenuity, invincible good humour and extraordinary fortitude – dug for victory on home turf.

A Green and Pleasant Land tells the intriguing and inspiring story of how Britain’s wartime government encouraged and cajoled its citizens to grow their own fruit and vegetables. As the Second World War began in earnest and a whole nation listened to wireless broadcasts, dug holes for Anderson shelters, counted their coupons and made do and mended, so too were they instructed to ‘Dig for Victory’.

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May 19, 2014   Comments Off

Britain’s ‘Growing Together’ to unlock money, land and skills for gardeners

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Useful information resources for community growing groups which will help them with income generation (crowdfunding and Digital Income Generation) and highlight innovative ways that more land can be made available for community growing through community share schemes and workplace allotment-gardens.

www.growing2gether.org.uk
2014

Excerpt from: Growing Together Resources Page “Briefing: Workplace Growing”

The workplace growing concept

Workplace growing encompasses a wide range of gardening activity on sites where people work. This could be private businesses with spare pieces of land available for growing, public spaces such as universities, hospitals, schools, or prisons or could belong to organisations like churches or village halls. These are places where volunteers, staff, patients, prisoners, parishioners, customers and students can come together and create a vibrant space to grow.

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April 28, 2014   Comments Off

Top 5 City Farms In London

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A Taste Of The Country In The City

By Flora Tonking
Town Fish
Apr 5th 2013

Excerpt:

Goats are pretty standard inhabitPig at the Kentish Town City Farmants of London’s city farms, as are sheep, cows and pigs; from the large pink variety to a rather fetching pair of small, curly-haired, marbled individuals, called Edward and Jenny, who live at Vauxhall City Farm. (Also at Vauxhall lives a rather incongruous alpaca, some distance from his Latin American roots.) Ponds are also popular city farmyard features, usually inhabited by ducks of different shapes and sizes, and maybe the odd goose. Chickens often ramble freely, either by design or on occasion when accidentally let loose by an over-excited young visitor.

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April 28, 2014   Comments Off

BBC2’s ‘The Big Allotment Challenge’

The great British rake off! Killer heels, yogic chanting, llama manure – they’re just some of the secret weapons rival gardeners resort to in BBC2′s Big Allotment Challenge

By Nicole Lampert
Daily Mail
4 April 2014

Excerpt:

We’ve had The Great British Bake Off, now it’s what you might call The Great British Rake Off as a new BBC show pits more members of the public – this time gardeners – against each other in the hobby they love.

And The Big Allotment Challenge is not for the weak-willed, insist the competitors – there are plenty of tears among the tomatoes and turnips.

‘This is the tough end of reality television,’ says Edd Curbishley, a Northamptonshire sales manager who competes in the show in partnership with his yoga teacher wife Harshani.

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April 27, 2014   Comments Off

Jethro Tull’s most famous flautist swapped the excesses of life on the road for growing extremely hot chillies

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Ian Anderson leaves his garden in Wiltshire to the pros, while he attends to his chillies.

Ian starts off his chillies in the swimming pool room, partly due to the conditions and partly because of the acoustics.

By Mark Diacono
The Telegraph
12 Apr 2014

Excerpts:

“My chilli pepper adventures began with a salutary experience, courtesy of our Indian drummer, Ritchie Dharma, in 1967,” he says. “His mother cooked a powerful egg curry that sent me on the way to discovering the secret of the ‘hot’ behind hot curry.”

The natural chemical capsaicin is the villain, found in greatest concentration not in the seeds, but in the fleshy part of the chilli’s interior. It’s the active ingredient in pepper spray, used against bad guys, but Ian actually enjoys the effect:

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April 12, 2014   Comments Off

A Little Piece of England – A Tale of Self-sufficiency – 35th Anniversary Edition

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Why self-sufficiency now is as important as ever

A Little Piece of England
By John Jackson
Published by JJ Books
New hardback edition 2014
232 pages

Excerpt from the author’s blog post 14th March 2014:

It is with great pleasure that I look forward to the publication of JJ Books’ newest book – the hardback edition of ‘A Little Piece of England’.

It is thirty-five years since the book was first published as ‘A Bucket of Nuts and a Herring Net’, and even longer since I wrote it. I can still very clearly remember writing the book – something that I did in the winter of 1977 – mainly at the kitchen table when everyone else was in bed and the house was quiet, between midnight and two in the morning.

I and my family had found it immensely exciting and rewarding to work on developing our own smallholding, and the project took us further than any of us had anticipated. We learned a huge amount from it, and it has turned out to have had a lasting effect on all of us. I wanted to keep a record of the experiences our family shared – and I am very glad that I did.

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April 10, 2014   Comments Off

The benefits of gardening and food growing for health and wellbeing

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This study reviews current literature and highlights compelling case for commissioning of food growing by health service, with foreward by Professor Tim Lang.

By Garden Organic and Sustain
Gareth Davies, Maria Devereaux, Margi Lennartsson, Ulrich Schmutz, Sarah Williams
April 2014

Excerpt from Forward:

We can all benefit from gardening and community food-growing projects. It is widely recognised that regular contact with plants, animals and the natural environment can improve our physical health and mental well-being. When we grow food and flowers, we are engaging with the natural world at a pace that provides a welcome antidote to the stresses of modern life.

For the large number of people in our society – children and adults – who live with challenging physical or mental health problems, gardening and community food growing can be especially beneficial.

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April 1, 2014   Comments Off

Edible Perennial Gardening: Growing Successful Polycultures in Small Spaces

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By Anni Kelsey
Permanent Publications
April 15, 2014

Excerpt from review by Rory Prendergast in Permaculture UK:

Anni Kelsey’s first book Edible Perennial Gardening is receiving great reviews from some eminent people such as permaculture author, Patrick Whitefield, Agroforestry Research Trust founder, Martin Crawford and the edible forest gardener, Eric Toensmeier. Their feedback is in advance of the book’s launch at the Edible Garden Show (28th-30th March) in London where the author will be speaking. The book details the many ways to grow perennials in low-maintenance polycultures, an ideal method for small urban or rural gardeners to grow year round delicious, unusual edibles that look beautiful too.

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April 1, 2014   Comments Off