Allotments and land for growing your own food
Everyone is keen to grow food
It is very satisfying to eat something you have grown yourself, and to know that it has not been shipped halfway round the planet, cold stored for months, or treated with all sorts of insecticides and fertilizers. Increasing numbers of people are keen on growing their own, and doing it organically. And it is an important strand of Transition. How can Transition Town Poole nurture and expand home food growth in our area ?
- Allotments – campaigning for more growing space, supporting community allotments
- Landshare – pairing up people who want to grow, but have no space, with those with space and no time/limited interest or incapacity
- communal and guerilla gardening – identifying space that could be growing productive food, and negotiating or just getting on and planting
- saving and redistributing surplus – harvesting fruit trees that dont get picked, facilitating exchange of surplus crops
- skills share, and advice to each other – garden visits and sharing work for big tasks
- celebrating local food – communal meals, film and food
- supporting farmers markets and local food producers
Allotments in Poole
We are told that there are currently eight allotment sites in the borough of Poole containing 409 plots.
But there are 715 people on the waiting list who could have to wait 18 years before being able to plant their own fruit and veg – or may never get one at all. for list of allotments in Poole, see http://www.poole.gov.uk/
Some increase in plot numbers has been achieved by halving plot sizes. Great for participation, less good for self sufficiency.
There is talk of converting the North Road Playing fields to Allotments, sadly this is heavy clay soil, and not the best land to use. There may be some opportunities at Turners Field, and the council is also looking at Upton Farm.
It would be good if some Transitioners worked on lobbying the council to improve provision, especially in corners of the Borough not well served. They have signalled an intent to look at what might be done, so may be receptive to positive ideas and approaches. It helps if you gather together with others. The legislation talks about having to provide allotments if 5 people in a parish demand them. Sadly for a big town, with some allotments available, the same rules dont apply.
There is a national rennaisance in growing food, vegetable seeds outselling flowerseeds for the first time in many years. Hugh Fernley Whittingstall is publicising a scheme to match people with land up with those wanting space to grow, in exchange for food. http://landshare.channel4.com/
But can we do things more locally ? One could simply advertise in your own street, or should Transition Poole broker deals. What are the risks to the elderly and vulnerable, and how can we minimise these ? Theresa mentioned that Help the Aged would be interested. Can someone offer to approach them ?
Another site for sharing tools, experience and land/buildings is http://www.justfortheloveofit.org/
Gaining Experience – Tatnam Organic Patch
And if you haven’t got the land, experience or confidence, quite a few members of Transition Poole are also members of the Tatnam Organic Patch, and you’d be welcome to come down to a workday and get involved. Normally the first Sunday and third Saturday of the month. See http://tatnampatch.org.uk/ for details.
Members of TT Poole are also keen to see sustainable proposals for development of Turners Field, a piece of derelict (or wild) land in Parkstone. This could include a fruit orchard, community kitchen garden, wild childrens play area. Up to us to work with local people to ensure it is biodiverse and in tune with local resilience. See the Turners Field page
Childrens Centre in Langland Street
Potential for a community garden and edible playground. The Reconnect project is leading on this, volunteers and ideas will be needed.
Schools gardening projects need supporting and encouraging, there are national resources out there
We need to encourage and support a transition of skills, enthusiasm and participation, for example so that by enabling land share we dont undermine the case for more allotments, which will attract the more serious grower, potentially those whose appetite has been whetted by participation in a community garden or land share scheme .