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Category — England

Urban agriculture is bringing food production back into our cities


We’re about to see a lot more growing of produce in our cities as urban farming steps in to help boost global food production

By Ryan McChrystal
Elite Business Magazine
07 January 2015.


GrowUp started off by building a prototype demonstration farm – the GrowUp Box – 18 months ago following a successful Kickstarter campaign. It consists of a greenhouse above a shipping container where the fish live. “We set up first of all because we wanted to have something up and running to show people that food can be grown in cities using aquaponics.”

Originally built at London Bridge, the box moved to Stratford as part of a bigger project called Roof East – formerly an empty rooftop carpark, now a haven for food lovers. “Since December last year, we have been working on the business model for scaling aquaponic urban farming to a commercial model in cities like London, looking at the different operation models and at some variations in production systems,” says Hofman.

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January 25, 2015   No Comments

Guerrilla Gardening Research


How would you feel if a piece of disused land or a neglected urban space, such as a grass verge or roundabout, was suddenly made into a productive veg patch or pretty flower field?

Shropshire Star
Dec 24, 2014


Professor Larkham, associate head of Birmingham City University’s School of the Built Environment, says: “Guerrilla gardening is an international phenomenon. Those involved take part for a number of reasons, from brightening up their neighbourhoods to using gardening as a form of political protest.

“The land they are targeting is quite varied. It seem to range from traffic roundabouts and roadside grass verges to bits of land that one planner once called SLOP – Space Left Over after Planning – to derelict sites, unused patches of land which are clearly in somebody’s ownership but aren’t in any sort of productive use.

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January 7, 2015   Comments Off

‘Smart urban farmers’ at Grow Bristol, UK

Project founders Dermot O’Regan and Peter Whiting.

The project grows vegetables using a system based on aquaponic techniques

By Katie Pavid
The Bristol Post
November 06, 2014


One of the groups who have been nominated is Grow Bristol, an urban farming venture.

The team are developing and demonstrating innovative and sustainable ways of growing food in the city spaces of Bristol for the benefit of everyone who lives here.

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November 18, 2014   Comments Off

Carrots among the concrete: the role of urban agriculture

Beehives at Prinzessinnengarten, Berlin.

Another key to making urban agriculture economically viable, according to André, is its being seen as an integral part of closed loop systems using urban waste for compost and nutrition.

By Rob Hopkins
Transition Network
Oct 21, 2014


In order to weave urban agriculture, and its potential, into our discussions this month on ‘Reimagining Real Estate’, who better to talk to than André Viljoen and Katrin Bohn, architects, academics and authors of the recently published Second Nature Urban Agriculture; designing productive cities? Their first book, Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes (CPULs), published in 2004, put the idea of urban agriculture onto the agenda of the architectural profession. Things have changed a lot since then. I caught up with them by Skype a few weeks ago. As André told me, the reception when 10 years ago they first suggested to publishers a book on urban agriculture was “agriculture? We do architecture!”

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November 4, 2014   Comments Off

10-year National Pollinator Strategy in England: New measures to protect pollinators


The government has made an agreement with landowners including Network Rail and the Highways Agency to restore bee-friendly habitat throughout England.

By Victoria Gill
Science reporter, BBC News
Nov 3, 2014


To make space across an increasingly urban landscape for insects, the government has secured commitments from landowners including Network Rail and the Highways Agency, which has agreed to undertake work to “enhance the grassland” on its verges.

Mr Shardlow pointed out that these pollinator-friendly urban spaces were vital and he encouraged the public to help.

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November 4, 2014   Comments Off

The Poison Garden at England’s Alnwick Garden is filled with plants that can kill you

The ornate black gates to the Poison Garden warn visitors of the deadly plants that grow within. Photo by Duncan Andison/Corbis.

Visitors to the Poison Garden are prohibited from smelling, touching or tasting any of them.

By Natasha Geiling
September 22, 2014


“What’s extraordinary about the plants is that it’s the most common ones that people don’t know are killers,” the duchess says. Visitors are often surprised to learn that the laurel hedge, nearly ubiquitous in English gardens, can be highly toxic. But some visitors have had experience with laurel’s sinister side—the duchess has heard a few talk about how, after loading up their cars with pruned laurel leaves to take to the dump, drivers have fallen asleep behind the wheel of their car from the toxic fumes the branches emit.

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October 19, 2014   Comments Off

Roaming city farm on derelict Hull sites aims to combat food poverty in UK

Grand Design: An artist’s impression of how the farm could look.

“Empty land doesn’t do anything for the aesthetic of the city and our idea is to use these derelict spaces to create something that will add value.”

By Hull Daily Mail
October 08, 2014


The mobile farm will be housed in ship containers that reflect Hull’s shipping heritage, which can be easily moved to different locations around the city.

Mark said: “The concept is simple – we build a temporary site on unused land and if a developer wants the site back, we can simply pick it up and shift it to a new home.”

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October 18, 2014   Comments Off

United Kingdom farm park attracts 100,000 visitors a year, with city dwellers learning about agriculture

dClick on image for larger file.

The thing about opening up your farm to the public, is that sometimes raising livestock isn’t as picture perfect as city dwellers think.

By Laura Poole
ABC Australia
Oct 3, 2014


Farmers know that sometimes new born lambs will die.

Despite the home truths, lambing time at Cotswold Farm Park in England, is one of its most popular times for visitors to come through the gates.

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October 11, 2014   Comments Off

The allotment holder, Bristol

Pete Clee: ‘I’ve had my plot for 30 years.’ Photograph: Sophia Evans for the Guardian.

Pete Clee: ‘Experienced and lazy is my gardening style. I know what I don’t have to do’

By Lia Leendertz
The Guardian
6 September 2014


I’ve had my plot for 30 years, and walk around the other plots here most mornings, so I’ve always known what’s going on. I would report problems to the secretary and eventually someone said, “Why don’t you join the committee?” I said, “Because you’re a load of old codgers!” – they were pretty clueless and unwelcoming, the old guard: dig for victory types. They frowned on women having plots.

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October 2, 2014   Comments Off

Chas Hodges’ rock ‘n’ roll allotment: From Chas & Dave to growing his own

Chas Hodges from pop duo Chas & Dave in his Hertfordshire allotment. Photo by Luke Santilli.

Chas of the popular British rock/cockney (or rockney for short) band Chas & Dave.

By Jane Clinton
June 22, 2014


He is clearly in his element as he gives me a guided tour: “Come and smell this wild garlic,” he says pulling a piece from the earth. “It doesn’t get fresher than that.”

Next he holds up some newly unearthed spring onions: “You get them in the supermarket and there’s no smell. Hmm lovely,” he sniffs, and smiles. “Here, you can have that as a present.” He laughs as he hands me the first of many such gifts.

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September 25, 2014   Comments Off

Bristol, England to provide urban farming inspiration as EU Green Capital

Steve Glover, pioneer of Bristol’s urban agriculture. Photograph by Elisabeth Braw.

Gearing up for its role as EU Green Capital 2015, Bristol’s agricultural scene is growing

By Elisabeth Braw
The Guardian
9 September 2014


Steve Glover doesn’t mind being called an unlikely pioneer of sustainable urban agriculture. A few years ago he didn’t even know how to grow organic vegetables, let alone on a deserted piece of land next to Bristol’s train station.

Today, Glover is supplying high-end local restaurants with vegetables and salads from his farm, the Severn Project. His staff, those that grow and pick the produce are recovering drug addicts.

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September 20, 2014   Comments Off

Future Farmers: a guide to running an urban food growing traineeship


The sky’s the limit for London’s future farmers

By Sustain: The Alliance For Better Food And Farming
Sept. 2014

A new guide aimed at organisations hoping to train the next generation of urban farmers, is being launched today on a rooftop farm in central London. The document – titled Future Farmers; a guide for running an urban food growing traineeship – is being launched by the Mayor of London’s food advisor, Rosie Boycott, as part of Urban Food Fortnight, which will see London’s food growers selling produce at over 100 events and outlet.

Chair of London Food Board, Rosie Boycott, said: “Training and apprenticeships are key to making sure there are enough skilled people to start food growing enterprises and help to meet the demand for locally produced, great quality food that we see here in London. This new initiative provides a comprehensive and practical guide to help nurture the next generation of professional urban growers.”

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September 16, 2014   Comments Off

Young citizen scientists reveal urban bee ‘surprise’

Dallas Campbell with survey participant. BBC presenter Dallas Campbell said children were “natural-born scientists”.

A patch of lavender in a city centre sees more bumblebees than a patch in the country, according to preliminary results from a citizen science project

By Jonathan Webb
BBC News
Sept 9, 2014


“Within cities, there are fewer floral resources,” said Dr Michael Pocock from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, who led the analysis of the data with colleague Dr Helen Roy.

“And so one of the likely explanations is that there’s a concentration effect – the bumblebees in the area are concentrated on floral resources which are provided through pots of lavender and beds of lavender.”

That isn’t necessarily bad news, Dr Roy added, because it suggests that planting more flowers in cities will help boost bumblebee numbers.

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September 13, 2014   Comments Off

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


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   Comments Off

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


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   Comments Off