Category Archives: All things horticultural
Green-fingered people in the Ladywood area of Birmingham are being urged to make sure a new community project at their local fire station grows from strength to strength. (Photo reproduced here with kind permission of the West Midlands Fire Service, @WestMidsFire.)
The front of the station on Icknield Port Road now boasts three raised growing beds, built in less than two weeks by unemployed young people on The Prince’s Trust Team programme and planted with herbs, edible flowers, fruit and veg.
Why does local food growing matter? What’s its value to a city?
How can we explain its’ impact? Indeed, how can we assess its impact and value to our society?These matters are explored in a report just published: One touch of nature: The value of urban agriculture, one of the Birmingham 2050 Scenarios series. It’d be great to hear your views on it.
A cold Easter weekend saw the launch of an Urban Food Stall at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Established on an old Lambeth Market barrow, the stall hopes to provide a new way of focussing on food in inner city Birmingham.
This urban food stall is all about locally grown vegetables and fruit, but also has a range of locally produced jams, preserves and chutney, as well as vegetable seeds, and vegetable and fruit plants. Giving visitors and those wanting fresh, local fruit and veg the chance to get everything from seed to end product in one place.
Saturday March 16th saw the first ‘Big Dig Day’ in Birmingham. Across the weekend, over 30 grow sites, allotments & community gardens opened their doors to all.
Although the weather forecast was non-too hopeful, groups all around the city put this aside, and welcomed new and existing volunteers to many varied and fun events.
Despite the rain, volunteers soon started to arrive, and with a fire lit, and work underway, I took my leave to visit Park Lane Garden Centre in Aston for the second stop of the day.
Park Lane were beginning their work on a new community garden next door, and as well as welcoming volunteers, Julia took time to show Clare Savage and I the plans and setting for the new garden.
Birmingham Food Growers NEED YOU!
On the 16th March food growing projects across Birmingham will be opening their doors, gates and sheds to locals in order to introduce you to their sites, start the growing year and get help from volunteers to complete a range of activities (tree planting, seed sowing, soil preparation and MORE!). Across the city, 26 sites have signed up so far….more on the way.
If you want to find out what’s happening there are lots of projects signing up http://bigdig.org.uk/
Once the northern fringes of the ancient Forest of Arden, Birmingham is a city of trees.
This photograph of Old Joe (reproduced with kind permission of Wagsy Wheeler), taken about 1.5 miles from the city centre, shows how verdant the city is.
I reckon there are millions of trees in our gardens, on allotments, in over hundreds of parks. There are nearly 100,000 street trees — yes, someone has counted!
Fifty or sixty people were expected. My guess is well over 150 turned up.
Big Dig Brum began at Birmingham Botanical Gardens on Wednesday evening. Enthusiastic, lively, interesting people, a heart-warmingly friendly bunch who gave of their all in the break-out session. Thank you everyone.
Special thanks to organisers/speakers: writer and horticulturalist Alys Fowler, Mike Hardman from BCU, Lee Hale and Clare Savage from Winterbourne’s Urban Veg, Vic Acland (Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Botanical Gardens) and last but by no means least, the instigator of the whole shebang and MC on the night, Chris Blythe.
On the 16th January Big Dig Brum is holding a meeting at Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
As well as an opportunity to meet new groups, gather contacts and get ideas, the meeting will also include short presentations by local author and gardening journalist Alys Fowler and Mike Hardman (Birmingham City University) on the need, importance and context of growing food in Birmingham.
Moseley in Bloom gave out its coveted local awards on 6 November to businesses and local people who have helped in the past year to make Moseley Cleaner and Greener. Now plans are growing for next year’s In-Bloom effort. The RHS has announced that the theme for 2013 will be ‘Edible’ . Groups will plant herbs and vegetables in public spaces.
Moseley in Bloom is already experienced at this. In 2010 volunteers planted vegetables for the community up the perimeter fence of the old Meteor Ford site on Wake Green Road. We are now looking for more likely places to plant our edibles.
Every grass roots movement finds itself pulled in two directions: mucking in vs. wider coordination; hands on vs. strategy. Birmingham’s many community growing projects find themselves getting on with the former, and not so much of the latter.
An emphasis on one direction over the other leaves us with gaps: gaps in communication, gaps in in getting things done, gaps in sustaining a project. For example, at this point, the communication gap means that we don’t even know how many Birmingham groups there are!