“a volunteer-led project which aims to help Londoners grow more of their own food. We propagate edible plants which are then used on local growing projects. We teach people how to recognise plants, which parts are edible, how to propagate them, how they are grown in a forest garden and even how to cook with them”.
On the day I visited it was pouring with rain, and with it being early March there was not much in the way of plants to be seen, but I made the following short film (slowly getting the hang of it, poor audio in places is due to torrential rain on greenhouse roof) which hopefully captures some of what the project is about. See if you can spot the cameo by a mouse:
The festival day where Crystal Palace Transition Town’s Westow Park Community Garden was first unveiled to the public.
Here’s a great story about the power of just doing stuff, from Crystal Palace in London. I heard recently that Crystal Palace Transition Town (CPTT) had won the People’s Food Garden Award in the Capital Growth Grow For Gold awards late last year, and I was intrigued to know more about their Westow Park Community Garden and how it came about. I spoke to Rachel DeThample, who had kicked the project off. She told me that the original impetus for the garden came from wanted to leave London and move to Dorset in order to grow food. Unfortunately, as she put it, “my husband was having none of it”, so instead she set herself the challenge to grow her family’s Christmas dinner within London.
Susan Gregory (NE Seattle Tool Library), Pastor Lorraine Watson (North Seattle Friends Church), Signe Gilson (Cleanscapes), Dai Gorman (Lease Crutcher Lewis), Richard Conlin (Seattle City Council), and Tim Croll (Seattle Public Utilities) at the opening day for the Library.
Here is a wonderful story from Seattle. I am indebted to Susan Gregory and Leo Brodie for their time in telling me about it. In North Ravenna, NE Seattle, a rather exciting project has emerged from Sustainable NE Seattle, the local Transition initiative. Inspired by a similar project in West Seattle, the NE Seattle Tool Libraryopened to the public last month, and already has over 1,100 tools available for local people to hire. Members pay an annual membership and can then borrow tools for a week at a time. The Tool Library is housed in a building belonging to a local church which was renovated using a grant from a local recycling company. I asked Susan to tell me about the Library, how it came about and how it works:
I was delighted recently to be asked to speak at the Earth Building UK conference, held this year at Dartington, near Totnes. As regular readers will know I have had a deep and long-lasting love affair with earth building, and indeed many of those who inspired and trained my fumblings into the world of cob homes, strawbale walls and clay plasters were there in the audience. In the context of the soon-to-be-released ‘Totnes & District Local Economic Blueprint’, I looked at two projects in Totnes and their potential to do a lot more than just provide houses. It was a shame I could only get there for the final session as the whole day looked mouth-watering. The bits I did hear were great: I had never, for example, heard of the ‘mud and stud’ technique before, a method particular to Lincolnshire. Fascinating stuff. Anyway, here’s my talk: