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Category — England

UK: Man bought 55lb of fertiliser and got a visit from the terror police

The 47-year-old’s eBay order of a 55lb sack of explosive calcium nitrate fertiliser and growing tubes was flagged to police as potential terrorist activity

By Andy Dolan
The Daily Mail
Nov 3, 2017

Excerpt:

As an award-winning vegetable grower, John Handrahan-Cook will go to any length to produce the perfect crops.

But an online purchase of fertiliser and pipes for his super-sized onions, runner beans and radishes produced unexpected results – a visit to his semi-detached house by police.

The 47-year-old’s eBay order of a 55lb sack of explosive calcium nitrate fertiliser and growing tubes – together with more fertiliser, screws and plastic sheeting to build an onion house – was flagged to police as potential terrorist activity.

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November 11, 2017   Comments Off on UK: Man bought 55lb of fertiliser and got a visit from the terror police

UK city farms and community gardens – in pictures

A special moment for a visitor and a resident goat at Heeley City Farm in Sheffield, a working farm and environmental visitor centre in the heart of the city. Photograph: Philippa Willitts

Some 200 city and school farms in the UK, as well as more than 1,000 community gardens, are supported by the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens.

The Guardian
Oct 27, 2017

Excerpt:

These community projects are not just fun places to visit with children: they use green space and growing plants and animals as a catalyst for real social action. Here is a taste of the urban countryside.

Many of the UK’s community growing sites are located in some of the most deprived urban areas, where people have little access to their own outside space. Research shows that taking part in gardening and farming activities can increase wellbeing and where community sites have been developed on wasteland, this can lead to a reduction in antisocial behaviour, such as fly-tipping and vandalism.

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November 3, 2017   Comments Off on UK city farms and community gardens – in pictures

UK: Bees do better in the city than the countryside because of their ‘varied diet’

Merry Little Tales for merry little hearts. 1856. Click image to see larger file.

Urban rooftop and suburban garden bees produced 27.5 lbs of honey per hive this year on average

By Katie Morley
Telegraph
Oct 23, 2017

Excerpt:

Honeybees in cities and suburban areas are producing more honey than those in rural areas, figures show, amid fears that the species is in grave decline.

Urban rooftop and suburban garden bees produced 27.5 lbs of honey per hive this year on average, according to a survey by the British Beekeepers Association. This compares to rural gardens, which produced an average of 22.5 lbs of honey per hive, around a fifth less.

Previous research has shown that honeybees in towns and cities enjoy a more diverse diet and find a richer diversity of pollen. This is because they visit a much wider range of flowers than bees foraging in the countryside.

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October 28, 2017   Comments Off on UK: Bees do better in the city than the countryside because of their ‘varied diet’

The Future of Farming – Underground

Rows of microgreens at the Growing Underground facility in London. Growing Underground.

“Urbanization is the largest movement of humans in the history of humankind,” Epstein said. “Urban environments are also food deserts, because all the food is grown on the outskirts. That has to stop.”

By Irina Ivanova
CBS Moneywatch
October 16, 2017

Excerpt:

Until recently, hydroponics usually came with high start-up costs, meaning a farmer could wait for years before seeing a profit. Dring, who recently reached a distribution deal with Marks and Spencer, one of the U.K.’s largest retailers, expects Growing Underground to break even later this year.

“I’m going to get drunk for a week when that happens,” he joked. “I’ve already told my investors.”

Beyond the novelty of growing food in the bowels of London, Growing Underground’s approach shows that it’s possible to feed a growing population without the carbon-intensive effects of conventional industrial agriculture, which is in many ways unsustainable.

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October 22, 2017   Comments Off on The Future of Farming – Underground

1st International Conference on Urban Agriculture and City Sustainability

Urban Agriculture 2018, October 9 – 11, New Forest, UK

Organised By:
Wessex Institute, UK
Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain

Introduction:

The aim of the Conference is to review and discuss ways in which urban agriculture can contribute to achieve sustainable cities.

As urban populations continue to increase it is essential to consider ways of reducing their impact in terms of use of natural resources, waste production and climate change.

The increasing number of people in cities requires new strategies to supply the necessary food with limited provision of land and decreasing resources. This will become more challenging unless innovative solutions for growing and distributing food in urban environments are considered.

The scale of modern food production has created and exacerbated many vulnerabilities and the feeding of cities is now infinitely more complex. As such the food system cannot be considered secure, ethical or sustainable.

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October 19, 2017   Comments Off on 1st International Conference on Urban Agriculture and City Sustainability

UK: Community garden in memory of Spitfire inventor Reginald Mitchell to be ripped up

Reginald Mitchell CBE.

Advertising company JCDecaux – which owns the land – has put the site up for sale with a £35,000 price tag. Now more than 1,000 people have signed an online petition to try to save the beauty spot in Talke, Stoke-on-Trent.

Matt Jackson
The Sentinel
Oct 13, 2017

Excerpt:

Councillor Kyle Robinson, who represents the area on both Newcastle Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council, said: “JCDecaux has put the land up for auction and gave us very little notice. We were told the company wanted to dispose of the land but we have a licence agreement to run the community garden.

“Before we took over the land it was practically abandoned and a lot of people were upset about it. But we decided to tidy it up and make it into the garden.

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October 19, 2017   Comments Off on UK: Community garden in memory of Spitfire inventor Reginald Mitchell to be ripped up

UK: Alan Titchmarsh’s tips on starting your allotment

Allotments are becoming something of a must-have for urban families wanting to grow their own

Start a compost heap now, as an allotment will generate lots of green waste that’s best recycled into the soil.

By Alan Titchmarsh
Express
Sep 24, 2017

Excerpt:

Once the groundwork has been done it’s worth marking out beds, one for each of the main groups of plants. Put down paths of gravel, bark or paving slabs so it’s easy to walk around when wet, then start working out your cropping plan.

If you’ve never grown your own before, play safe for the first year or so and stick to reliable vegetables in small quantities spread throughout the year, or you’ll be swamped with stuff you can’t use – it’s usually lettuce – followed by nothing at all.

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October 1, 2017   Comments Off on UK: Alan Titchmarsh’s tips on starting your allotment

LOKAL is a prototype of a salad bar whose ingredients are grown indoors, locally and vertically, using a hydroponic farming system

Click image to see larger file.

SPACE10—IKEA’s external future-living lab—popped up in Shoreditch during last week’s London Design Festival.

By Simon Caspersen
SPACE 10
Director of Communications
Photographer: Rory Gardiner and Nicklas Ingemann
Sept 2017
(Must see. Mike)

We used the occasion to test a new food concept, we’ve been working on, called LOKAL. It is not fully ready to be implemented in the IKEA business of today, but was received so positively by local Londoners, that we are exploring further.

LOKAL is a prototype of a salad bar whose ingredients are grown indoors, locally and vertically, using a hydroponic farming system, which was on public display throughout the week.

Two thousand salads
The purpose of the prototype was to test how Londoners felt about food grown hydroponically and, more importantly, whether they liked the taste of the microgreens.

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September 30, 2017   Comments Off on LOKAL is a prototype of a salad bar whose ingredients are grown indoors, locally and vertically, using a hydroponic farming system

UK: The final spud has been plucked out of the ground of Preston North End’s famous garden allotment.

Leo Gornall at the PNE Allotment.

Now aged 80-years-old and after two hip operations, Gornall has decided, with a somewhat heavy heart, to give up the allotment and he is due to hand back the keys to the committee today.

Lancanshire Post
Sept 9, 2017

Excerpt:

The little plot of land on the corner of Blackpool Road andGarstang Road hit the headlines many years ago when it was revealed that many of the club’s former greats were green fingered enthusiasts.

Striker Tommy Thompson along with wingers LesDagger and Leo Gornall used to frequently hit the onion bag during their playing days.

But after hanging up their boots, they switched their attentions to cultivating potatoes and cauliflowers.

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September 19, 2017   Comments Off on UK: The final spud has been plucked out of the ground of Preston North End’s famous garden allotment.

UK: Bilston ‘wasteland’ transformed into allotments for community


“We had over 70 staff volunteer to be involved in this project and they enjoyed it immensely as they love to give something back.”

By Annabal Bagdi
Express and Star
Set 4, 2017

Excerpt:

“Staff and volunteers from Wolverhampton Homes have been working incredibly hard over the last year to transform a derelict piece of land into an allotment for the local community.

“Wolverhampton Homes currently run a staff volunteering project which allows their employees to work on projects and give back to the community.

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September 11, 2017   Comments Off on UK: Bilston ‘wasteland’ transformed into allotments for community

Durham’s allotment cutting garden is heaven on earth

Head gardener Geoff MacCallum in Durham Cathedral’s cutting garden Credit: Chris Watt For The Telegraph. Click image to see larger file.

The garden’s survival is something of a miracle. The high brick walls, potting shed and glasshouse date it to the Victorian era, but it’s been a flower garden since at least the Fifties.

By Caroline Beck
The Telegraph
2 Sept. 2017

Excerpt:

The team of volunteers is run by Helena Johnson, a former civil servant and the regional chair of the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (Nafas). At just 5ft tall, the floral arrangements in the Crossing of the Cathedral always tower above her by at least 3ft. She’s been doing the flowers since 1997, a weekly task throughout the year, using foliage cut by the gardeners and, during the summer, their flowers. “It’s so handy having the garden here, knowing they’ve just been cut the day before and are really fresh.”

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September 8, 2017   Comments Off on Durham’s allotment cutting garden is heaven on earth

UK: Corbyn, leader of the Queen’s loyal opposition, putters about in the garden

Mr. Corbyn grows fruits and vegetables on his 250-square-yard plot in Finchley, London.

In a nation of gardeners, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s pastime is run-of-the-mill. But keeping up a small plot within a London community garden fits his popular image as a modest, unmanicured politician.

By Simon Montlake
Christian Science Monitor
Aug 31, 2017

Excerpt:

“He’s the perfect man, I tell you. He doesn’t bother who he’s talking to, he’s the same,” says Joe McLean, who grows flowers, fruits, and vegetables on his allotment. He pulls out his phone to show a photo taken with Corbyn in June, just 10 days after the election.

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September 6, 2017   Comments Off on UK: Corbyn, leader of the Queen’s loyal opposition, putters about in the garden

UK: Heartbroken gardener stages sit-in protest after facing allotment eviction

Anke Wellhausen pictured at her allotment plot in Cavendish Road, Carlton.

Anke Wellhausen says she is being booted off the Robin Hood Allotments in Cavendish Road because her gardening techniques are not conventional.

By Matt Jarram
Nottingham Post
Aug 31, 2017

Excerpt:

She told the Post: “I would not say I was a bad gardener. I would love to know the reason for the eviction. I have only been given the standard phase which is non-cultivation.

“I have planted lots of new plants, I have put ground cover. It was overgrown when I took it on.

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September 3, 2017   Comments Off on UK: Heartbroken gardener stages sit-in protest after facing allotment eviction

UK: Flock brought in to graze across from Buckingham Palace

Six rare breed sheep have been chauffeured in for a daily shift of munching.

Woolly visitors part of a conservation effort aimed at increasing biodiversity in London’s Green Park

By Margaret Evans
CBC News
Aug 25, 2017

Excerpt:

There’ve been some unusual visitors to the royal postal code in London over the past week — a crack team of modern choppers brought in to help trim some troublesome patches of meadow in Green Park, just opposite Buckingham Palace.

“These are London sheep, these are,” Davis says. “Born and bred in the East End.” Davis said he’s proud to be re-introducing agriculture to the city.

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August 25, 2017   Comments Off on UK: Flock brought in to graze across from Buckingham Palace

UK: Carrots and communism: the allotments plotting a food revolution

OrganicLea, where all vegetable planting uses organic and permaculture principles, working with nature not against it. Photograph: OrganicLea

It is legally permissible for allotment gardens to market the surplus, up to 49% of what allotmenteers produce, and councils are also entitled to put unwanted allotments to commercial use on a year-by-year basis.

By Ru Litherland
The Guardian
Aug 18, 2017

Excerpt:

Allotment gardens have always been more than mere domestic food growing units. From their very beginning in the Victorian period, when land was given to the labouring poor for growing food, they’ve provided a space for recreation and an alternative to industrial capitalism.

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August 23, 2017   Comments Off on UK: Carrots and communism: the allotments plotting a food revolution