Growing Places Members’ magazine - Issue 3 2013, August
FCFCG - looking to the future
Brill Village Community Herd
Mowbray School Farm makes history
Communities buying land - help is at hand
Growing Together - what’s in it for members?
Inside this issue Contents
Before skipping to the members’ stories (which we know are always the most interesting bit), please take a moment to read the article on page 3 about the Federation’s future direction and on page 4, about the benefits we hope the Growing Together partnership will bring to you and your project. One of the opportunities that Growing Together is exploring is the potential to use community share issues to buy land or fund other capital costs. See page 13 for details of an event exploring communities buying land as well as a case study from a project that has achieved this.
On page 6 you can read about how new member, Brill Village Community Herd, has adopted an unusual solution to managing their local green space. They are certainly unique amongst our membership. The copy date for the next issue is 23 September. We always love to hear from you. Please send your news items to the Editor:
FCFCG - looking to the future
Growing Together update for members
Brill Village Community Herd
Hidden Gardens 10th anniversary
Mowbray School Farm
Orchard Roots Bristol
Members - news in brief
Events and diary
Communities buying land
Funding, training and other opportunities
Member services and FCFCG contact details
New members We now have 632 members. A warm welcome to all those that have joined since the last issue: and Openshaw Community • Aber Valley Community Food Farm Project Allotment • Headless Cross Community • Armagh Allotments Orchard • B.R.G Lint Dam Allotments • Healthy Food For All • Banc Organics • Helen’s Bay Community • Blaise Community Garden Garden • Capel Community Orchard • Herne Bay Community Group • Cardiff Hops Projects Ltd • Carrickfergus Community • HMP Gartree Community Cultivation Garden • Chipping Campden School • Holylands Community Garden • Community Mothers Garden • Homewood School Farm • Digging for Dementia • Hope House School Animal • Fife Diet Unit • Friends of Sudbury Meadow • Incredible Edible Todmorden • Glascote Heath Farm • Lawns ‘n’ Roses Ltd • Grove Park Community Group • Ligoniel Community Farm Garden Enterprises • Growing in the City - Beswick Page 2
• Llandudno Allotment Association • Lovelyland • Merville Allotments Association • Myatt’s Fields Park Project • Reddish Vale Technology College • Riverbank Community Cafe & Market Garden CIC • Rowdeford School • Stroud Slad Farm Garden • Sustainable Wick • The Community Garden Network • The Roundhouse Partnership
FCFCG - looking to the future A
s members will be aware, there are currently many organisations and networks promoting community gardening and ‘grow your own food’ in one way or another, which is of course to be welcomed. The Federation has partnerships with many. We work to ensure that the unique community-led nature of our members’ work is at the forefront of the thinking of policy makers and other stakeholders, whilst keeping a ‘weather eye’ on future policy directions, problems and opportunities for our members. This advocacy role is a central part of FCFCG’s support for the movement as a whole. At a wider level, the Federation wishes to assess the role of the community farming and gardening movement in contributing to the broader sustainability agenda. Recently we have been discussing some of the ideas promoted through the work of Community Supported Agriculture, by the Campaign for Real Farming and through the Soil Association’s emerging work on Sustainable Food Cities. Looking to the future, FCFCG’s Board is discussing how to implement findings of an organisation-wide evaluation by one of our long-term funders. Members will be consulted
through surveys to gauge your needs and aspirations for the next few years. The Board will be pulling together revisions to our business plan into one coherent document which will refresh our vision, mission statement and objectives. This will take into account differing strategic needs in the four UK countries and London, with the aim of producing one set of documents that sets the direction for the whole organisation. Complementary country/regional plans will then be developed to fit into this structure, with a clear focus on the outcomes of our work. It has been clear for some time that the Federation needs to be
less dependent on grant aid we will need to continue to address income generation, including the pricing of our servcies, developing consultancy and training income, and if appropriate joint contract/ commissioned work. We will be sending out the members’ survey in the early autumn. It will include questions about how much members might be prepared to pay for various services – and we might ask for a focus group of members to develop this dialogue. It is vital that we work together on these thorny issues to ensure a positive future for the Federation in support of our members and the wider movement.
FCFCG Social Media We use Twitter to raise the profile of community growing groups in the UK directly to media contacts, other community-sector organisations and the public.
Our facebook page is a great place to find out what other groups are up to, catch up on FCFCG events, network and raise the profile of your group.
We are on Youtube and Vimeo. And you can share your photos with FCFCG and other members. Join the FCFCG group on Flickr. Page
Growing Together update for members F
CFCG has been working on a new programme called Growing Together that aims to unlock money, land and skills to support community growing. In this unique new partnership we are working alongside Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), Community Land Advisory Service (CLAS), Coops UK, Garden Organic, Groundwork UK, The Permaculture Association, Community Composting Network, Sustain and The Plunkett Foundation. Growing Together will help our members: • Learn about crowdfunding/ crowdsourcing and how this can bring in money for skills, land or equipment. • Explore opportunities for you to use community shares to help buy land or fund other capital costs. • Promote and set up innovative workplace gardens. These can benefit the community at large as well as the employees at the workplaces. • Develop and grow with the aid of DIG (Digital Income Generation). Growing Together is currently gathering case studies from projects that have already been involved in this work. For example, the very successful crowdfunding appeal by Manchester Veg People (MVP). MVP supply fresh produce and want to supply local primary schools. They recently successfully raised over £16,000 which will be used to purchase a van, cold store and packing equipment to meet new demand. The knock on effect of this is Page
that they will be increasing the income to their farmers, providing a fair market for new growers and growing more local organic veg! We would really like to hear from any community garden or farm that has already been involved with crowdfunding, community shares or workplace gardens that involve the community, or if you would like to get involved with FCFCG and our partners’ in finding ways to bring new sources of income, land and volunteers to your project. Growing Together can help your project through a mixture of face-to-face networking and peerto-peer learning events. In the autumn, we may be able to offer one-to-one intensive support on any of these areas using FCFCG and partner organisation time so please get in touch if this would be of interest to you. Finally, see page 13 for further details of a ‘Communities buying land’ event on 27 November in Birmingham which will also explore crowd funding and community shares. For further information about Growing Together or to enquire about receiving further support please contact Heidi Seary by 30 August. email@example.com
Kellie Horder is our new Administrator at the GreenHouse. A Cornish lass, born and bred, she’s no country mouse! “I moved to Bristol from a small seaside town in West Cornwall in 2012, attracted to the city by the community feel, positive attitude to cyclists and creative atmosphere (although I do miss the sea air!). I had previously worked for charitable organisations with a focus on youth and communities and was excited to be able to continue working in the third sector in Bristol. “I’ve never really had the chance to garden before but with my partner I’ve turned every available part of our patio into a garden of pots. This year, (thanks in part to mother nature of course), has been much more successful than last with fantastic roses, a bumper crop of purple and green mangetout, and plenty of tomatoes ripening nicely. “I like to combine my love of cycling with a little ‘guerilla gardening’ and carry a pocket full of our collected wildflower seed to spread onto wasteland next to cycle paths. I always have a project on the go - making picnic blankets, wooden planters and pottery. Next up is ‘green graffiti’ on our garden wall!”
Scottish programme evolves to meet members’ needs Since 2006 we have held an annual National Networking Event at Battleby, but this year we are doing something different. Members requested more regional networking opportunities, so we have planned three large regional meetings in addition to our regular smaller events. Each will be run in partnership with at least one other organisation, and the locations will be spread across Scotland, so as many people as possible will be able to join in. So far, this new approach is going really well. We ran our first joint networking event in Inverness with the Highland Council in June. Over 60 people attended, all sharing knowledge and
contacts. The general consensus from people attending was that they were really pleased that the Highland Council has come forward to engage and support people at a local level wanting to get involved with community growing.
the biodiversity on their sites, so there will be more of this sort of training to come.
We also ran a joint event in Midlothian with Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust, combining training in biodiversity recording and a site visit at the Lost Garden of Penicuik (pictured and see page 10 for more about this project). We have recently been awarded funding by Scottish Natural Heritage to help community gardens improve habitats for wildlife and to record
At government level, we have continued to organise visits for members of the Scottish Parliament to see the work of community gardens first hand, and we’ve been making sure that MSPs and decision makers take community growing into consideration in policies too, by responding to consultations on allotment law, planning policy and Big Lottery funding.
Education Growing: Growing Education Nearly 100 people attended the 2013 School Farms Network conference at the Phoenix School Farm in London where they were able to experience the outdoor classroom, hear presentations and a panel debate from experts, take part in a wide range of workshops, and forge supportive links between schools through networking. There was a call for greater unity in presenting the case for clear benefits to student learning from the use of the garden/farm, and to build on the launch of the School Food Plan. Phoenix School Farm is located in the heart of White City Estate where it has developed strong links with the local community, with primary schools and local groups. The school farm also work in conjunction with Hammersmith Community Gardens Association.
The conference report will be available on our website: www. farmgarden.org.uk/education
Growing with Schools is growing Growing with Schools, our wellestablished support service for schools in Coventry, is now expanding to new pilot areas, thanks to funding from The Ashden Trust and The Mark Leonard Trust. Three new hubs have been created to help share learning and develop sustainable services to schools. The hubs will now operate under the well-known ‘Growing Schools’ brand. The three new partners are the Growing Devon Schools Network, Heeley City Farm and Whirlow Hall Farm in Sheffield,
and Manchester Environmental Education Network. For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org www.farmgarden.org.uk/ education/growing-with-schools
Brill Village Community Herd B
rill Common consists of approximately 30 hectares of grassland adjacent to and owned by the village of Brill in Buckinghamshire. The common is much used by villagers and visitors from across Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire who come to walk, picnic, fly kites and take part in other recreational activities as well as visiting the historic windmill that is built upon it. Roger Stone describes how the villagers have come up with a unique solution to managing a unique space for the benefit of the local community. “The geology of Brill Common is a complex of Portland Limestone, acidic Lower Greensand and Kimmeridge Clay. There is a long history, dating back to Roman times, of the many uses of this clay, Brill Ware pottery (14-15C AD) being just one. A more recent activity was that of a thriving brick and tile industry when the Common was heavily quarried until the end of the 19th Century. Following the Second Word War it returned solely to grazed pasture. “Grazing on the Common by its Commoners ceased nearly twenty years ago, a story repeated on most other commons in this country, and for sixteen subsequent years lack of management resulted in an overgrowth of scrub, bramble, tree saplings and rank grass, nearly destroying the precious and increasingly rare remaining unimproved grassland. The thatch of dense cover had all but swamped the botanical interest which the site was previously known for. “The nature of the undulating topography, a direct result of the clay quarrying, makes the majority
of the Common unsuitable for mechanical management, so professional advice was sought which recommended it should be restored and maintained by conservation grazing with cattle.
the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG). The Society is unique in that it is the first in the country to use this format to find a solution to deterioration of a common.
“A local grazier set out to restore the Common using a small herd of Dexter cattle. With the help of some manual clearance of the dense overgrowth this was successful, however the work involved was very onerous for the grazier and a sustainable solution was sought. It was considered that the only viable option was for the village to own the herd.
“The Society is open to everyone on payment of a membership fee (£5) that includes a nominal £1 share. We currently have more than 370 members, including over 40 children, many of whom have made generous donations.
“After consulting the villagers, in May 2011 the Brill Village Community Herd Society was formed. This is a formal ‘Society for the Benefit of the Community’ a non-profit making society regulated by the FSA. The Society has a small Board that includes the previous grazier to ensure that expert advice is available and that all decisions taken ensure the welfare of the animals. “The Society has formally committed to carry out its work according to a five-year plan prepared by an ecologist from
“The present herd consists of seven Dexters, now owned by the Society’s members. Dexter cattle were chosen, as being small and calm, they are ideally suited to an area accessed by the public and being native are very hardy and thrive on unimproved grassland. “The cattle are moved around the Common, grazing small areas to conservation principles behind electric fencing; all areas are open to the public and easily accessible through numerous gates. “All work associated with maintaining the animals, who remain on the Common throughout the year, is undertaken by village volunteers. Currently
around thirty volunteer ‘Lookers’ check the animals, their water and the fence daily under the guidance of a warden.
Happy 10th birthday to a ‘Dear green place’
“When it is time to move the herd to a new grazing area another team of volunteer ‘Movers’ take down the existing fence and gates and re-erect them in the new location in readiness for the herd. The grassland is now beginning to return to health and increased biodiversity. “The Society strongly believe grazing animals can be a source of education for children and adults alike and that involving children, who will be the promoters of conservation and biodiversity in the future, should pave the way to its future sustainability. “In 2012 the Society was honoured with an award from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) for “Protecting and Enhancing the Countryside”. Furthermore, a representative of Natural England has written that, “ – [it] is an excellent project that will have long lasting benefits for the Common, its biodiversity and the community of Brill.” The award promoted much local and national interest from the media that has resulted in it being featured in a recent BBC Radio 4 ‘On Your Farm’ programme, local and national TV and a wide variety of the Press.
On 22 June, The Hidden Gardens in Glasgow celebrated its 10th anniversary. Local and not-so-local people came in their hundreds to enjoy each other’s company, soak up the beauty of the gardens and to take part in activities that included storytelling, music, dance, visual art and wish-making. Margaret Carlyle, the Gardens’ longest serving volunteer, led a ceremonial planting of buddleia, a plant with historical significance to Glasgow. The planting was the culmination of a ten year anniversary project ‘Plants of meaning’, which sought to revisit the Gardens’ planting scheme ten years on, in order to reflect the new communities in the local area since the gardens opened in 2003. Following the planting, visitors were invited to scatter seeds of the White Poppy - a universal symbol of peace - in the wildflower meadow. The Hidden Gardens Cultural Cookery group prepared and served a feast that represented many of the cultures living locally - Scottish, Middle Eastern and Asian. The day also marked the opening of a seven week
long exhibition, ‘Day of stories’, featuring photography, film, archive materials and objects alongside a Forest of Wishes displaying the thoughts, wishes, prayers and messages offered to the ‘wishing trees’ by the thousands of visitors to the gardens. Now operated by The Hidden Gardens Trust, The Hidden Gardens was founded in 2003 by public arts organisation NVA as a direct response to a community consultation identifying the need for a forward-thinking, beautiful, safe and neutral space for the diverse communities of Pollokshields and neighbouring Govanhill to come together. The Hidden Gardens fuses cutting edge contemporary design, reflective planting and artworks with an ambitious and progressive community engagement programme. As a unique community resource and public space, the Gardens aims to improve the quality of life for the local community and act as a catalyst for further social improvements and sustainable growth in the area.
Mowbray makes history at Great Yorkshire Show W
ednesday 10 July 2013 will live long in the memory of School Farms Network member Mowbray School, especially pupils Lucy Coghlin, Harvey Stockdale and Ricky Pettfield. Not only did they represent Mowbray School Farm at one of the biggest agricultural shows in England, they achieved fourth, fifth and sixth place respectively in the Young Handlers section of the sheep show, competing against 13 other handlers. The pupils handled their sheep brilliantly in the show ring before the judges and a sizeable watching crowd. Lucy, Harvey and Ricky also faced a scrum of media attention starting the day before the show with a visit to the school farm by an ITV news crew. Show day began at 8.15am with a live interview on the BBC Radio stage and by show time at 1.30pm a bank of journalists and photographers had appeared to report on our handlers and school making a little bit of show history. The ITV news crew were present again to film the three young handlers preparing the sheep for their big moment in the ring. Mowbray School featured as the lead story from the Great Yorkshire Show on the local ITV news that evening. Mowbray serves a catchment area of 1600 square miles stretching from Harrogate to Stockton On Tees and educates 140 pupils aged three to sixteen years with a wide range of special educational needs. It was the first special needs school in the country to
introduce a working farm into its daily curriculum: a bold decision which has since blossomed into a success story, inspiring other schools across the north of England, and has earned Mowbray accredited status with the National Autistic Society, one of only 300 establishments worldwide to have done so. This appearance at The Great Yorkshire Show was also the first by a school of its kind at any agricultural show in the country. The school’s five and a half acre smallholding is now home to rare breed sheep, pigs, poultry, goats and ponies as well as polytunnels and vegetable gardens, and has become integral to Mowbray’s educational and sustainability ethos. Rare breeds are chosen for their particular suitability for working with children. As well as feeding the school community and raising funds for new facilities and resources through produce sales, the farm helps to raise pupil awareness and understanding of the environment, food production and the benefits of healthy living, whilst also providing them with a uniquely valuable sensory experience. Headteacher Jonathan Tearle
believes rural life skills are essential for his pupils: “This is a rural school in a rural area,” he says. “We are preparing them for life after Mowbray where they will most probably continue to live in a rural community and seek work in associated rural industries.” Alongside its core curriculum, Mowbray School now offers accredited vocational courses in agriculture, horticulture, catering, floristry, dry stone walling and construction, and runs other courses in partnership with local farms and agricultural businesses. Pupils tend livestock and crops on a rota basis. Many of the staff they work alongside are from local farming families and bring lifelearnt rural skills and knowledge to the project alongside their core teaching skills. “If we need something for the farm we try to make it ourselves, turning it into a project for the children. There is always a strong emphasis on self-sufficiency as well as sustainability,” says Jonathan. The school would like to say a big ‘thank-you’ to everyone who helped them in their preparation for the show and most of all to Lucy, Harvey and Ricky who did Mowbray proud!
Orchard Roots Bristol H
orfield Organic Community Orchard (HOCO) has reasons to be cheerful in 2013. It’s fifteen years since a group of dedicated volunteers first began work to reclaim a neglected and overgrown corner of an allotment site. Members are celebrating the 15th anniversary with the help of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for Orchard Roots Bristol (ORB) - a community history project to explore and celebrate the living heritage of fruit growing in the Golden Hill area of Bristol, tracing the roots back to traditional orchards in Bristol and beyond - particularly Gloucestershire and Somerset. Taking place during a growing season, the project promises to be as richly layered as a good compost heap. Using a range of methods and events HOCO members will tap into connections to foods with roots in the soil beneath the city, to record stories of local residents, members of a pioneering community orchard, a landscape, and its fruiting trees. These stories will be shared at orchard open days, through the creation of learning activities, maps, displays, and an enhanced website. What goes around comes around - ORB aims to cultivate community knowledge and local heritage to educate, and to inspire participation in local food growing.
reproduced photographs taken by members over the years, will be exhibited at public events and on the website. HOCO is home to several very local apple varieties, including Gloucestershire Underleaf, Court of Wick and Sheppardine Silt. Funding means the 60 plus different varieties of apples, pears and plums in the orchard can be permanently labeled – making it easier for members and public to appreciate the diversity of fruit grown. Later in the summer several varieties discovered on the site in 1998 will be sent for identification to the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale. Members hope that one or two of these ‘mystery’ fruits will reveal a strong local heritage. A visit to Bristol Record office should fill in some gaps in our knowledge of the historical use of land for food and fruit production in the local area. Members are also satisfying their own curiosity, and scratching below the surface of oft-repeated ‘facts’, and delving further back than the 20th century.
A ‘Know your Orchard’ Roots Bristol event in the orchard on 8 June was attended by over 100 people of all ages. The group set up an outdoor photographic and recording area for the occasion, and there were tours of the orchard, and local produce and refreshments for sale. “We gathered some great stories from visitors with personal and family connections to market gardens near Bristol, local allotments, and the old horticultural research centre near Bristol which was created to study and improve the West Country cider industry and later expanded into fruit research” said orchard co-ordinator, Shannon Smith. The project continues throughout the summer with a special Apple Day celebration in the orchard on Sunday 20 October planned as a grand finale, when the stories gathered will be shared with the wider public. A new guide to the orchard will be available, followed by a multi-layered website map that supports deeper delving into the history and horticulture of each fruit. www.community-orchard.org.uk
Orchard members - past and present, founding, long-standing and new - got together at the end of April to recount and record their stories and experiences from different phases of HOCO. Highlights from these stories, and digitally ©Jamie Carstairs
Members Lost Garden of Penicuik
The Lost Garden of Penicuik is an ambitious project initiated by Penicuik Community Development Trust in Midlothian, Scotland. In 2009 the trust began a 50 year programme to restore one of the finest Victorian walled and terraced food and flower production gardens in the country, built in 1875 and forgotten, partly dismantled and allowed to become overgrown a quarter of a century ago. The trust entered into a 30 year lease in February 2012. Now into the third year of their project, they have recently played host to both an FCFCG networking event and BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time. www.lostgarden.co.uk
Iron Age farming at Gorgie City Farm Gorgie City Farm is helping local school children learn how their Iron Age ancestors worked the land. The farm is playing host to the School of Ancient Crafts, an organisation which works with young people in Edinburgh teaching them the skills and crafts of the past. The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. At Gorgie, the children will be planting ancient seed varieties which will be used to make the sort of basic gruel and bread our forefathers lived on. They will Page 10
prepare the ground using deer antlers and use millstones to grind the flour. All of the ancient farming techniques are carried out exactly as they would have been 2,000 years ago – when Edinburgh was just a few small huts. In August – wearing Celtic costumes – the children will harvest their crops to make bread and porridge. They will also be growing dye plants such as woad, and having a go at dyeing sheep’s wool.
environmental charity that promotes local food growing and Sage Greenfingers, charity that improves mental health through therapeutic gardening opportunities.
Blaise Community Garden
For full article see: www.scotsman.com/news
Beyond the Veil - Hives, honey, homicide!
Nearly 100 people enjoyed an outdoor theatre performance at Grimesthorpe Allotments, Sheffield on 1 June. ‘Beyond the Veil’ was a comedy where CSI meets Camberwick Green in a tale of sleuths and bees - a crime thriller with a buzz. The performance was a lively show full of music, fun and facts about bees and beekeeping. Mikron Theatre company are unique, the only professional theatre company in the world to tour by narrowboat, bringing performances to places that don’t often see theatre; pubs, village greens, canal basins, and this year, to allotments and apiaries. The performance was hosted by Green City Action, an
Situated in 650 acres of Grade II listed parkland in outer Bristol, Blaise Castle House was built in 1798 for a wealthy Bristol merchant and banker. The grounds of the house were laid out by a leading landscape architect, and include a dairy and an orangery. The house is now a popular museum. Recently, a group of volunteers from the local community have, after a long wait, finally been given the go ahead by Bristol City Council to set up a community gardening project on the site. They have been given two 100 foot greenhouses in the old walled garden to begin with. The greenhouses are in a bad state of repair and have no soil or containers. The group have access to plastic drums and bits of wood to make a few beds. There are existing cold frame spaces which they can fill with soil. Getting hold of enough top soil on their limited budget is proving challenging, as is repairing the broken glass etc in the glasshouses so that they meet current health and safety requirements.
Members The group are rising to the challenge and holding regular work days. They hope to make a success of this first stage so that the council will consider extending the project to other areas of the site next year.
Sowing new seeds in Bradford
sowed white maize, lablab beans and more chickpeas, all of which are growing well. The taro is a bit tardy, though, despite the warm weather which should have made it feel at home! BCEP worker Jane Robinson has really enjoyed the project so far: ‘We have always enjoyed trying out new things to grow, and we’ve already added haloon to our regular growing list. We also love the opportunity to bring diverse people together, and it’s been great to bring together members of our various regular groups with people who are completely new to BCEP. The project is a delight!’ For further information see: www.sowingnewseeds.org.uk
Bradford Community Environment Project has been helping Garden Organic to sow some new seeds - and to eat them too! The Sowing New Seeds initiative aims to enable and encourage growers to try exotic crops not traditionally grown in the UK. The group have been growing turmeric, haloon (similar to cress), African kale, Cuban thyme, lemon grass, dhudi (bottle gourd), fenugreek, taro and duggi (amaranth). And if you grow them, you have to know how to eat them so participants from some of BCEP’s community gardening groups have been demonstrating how to prepare delicious food with dhudi, fenugreek leaves, yard long beans and duggi, a firm favourite with the Bangladeshi-origin women. The group have sowed and planted up two demonstration beds at Wibsey Park Community Garden. The first batch of haloon and fenugreek have already been harvested and devoured at Wibsey, and the chickpeas are flowering. Groups of school children have also helped out and
Royal birthday visit for St James’ City Farm
Noticeboard Community gardening is good for you! It’s official, allotment and community gardening is good for your health and well-being. Of course all us gardeners knew this already, but new findings, from the ‘Growing a Healthier Older Population’ research programme conducted by Cardiff Metropolitan University and Cardiff University, reveal that allotment and community gardening reduces stress, boosts self-esteem and enhances well-being and happiness. So, happy gardening to all! For more information:
Outbreaks of blight in your garden?
Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Gloucester came to celebrate the 15th birthday of St James’ City Farm in Gloucester, and to officially open their new café. For most of its development the community farm was funded by the local authority, but is now managed by a well-respected local community organisation, The Friendship Cafe, with volunteer input from across the whole community. It turned out to be a lovely event with glorious weather and hundreds of happy people eating cake and ice-cream.
James Stroud from Bangor University would like you to send leaf samples from infected tomato and/or potato plants if this is an issue for you. James will send you a free pack containing sample bags, pre-paid envelopes and full instructions for sampling. If your site is prone to blight outbreaks and there are outdoor tomatoes present, please send your postal address to: The project aims to develop new tomato cultivars with greater resistance to blight suitable for environmentallyfriendly growing in the UK and learn more about the strains of blight that infect tomato and their relationship with potato strains. Page 11
Events and networking
Growing Communities with the Co-op in Wales FCGCG Wales have taken a lead from our Northern England team and joined up with the Cooperative Membership Cymru to run a series of events at member projects in Wales designed to give participants an inspiring taste of growing, harvesting and cooking food, and find out more about community growing projects in their area. At Moelyci Environmental Centre in Tregarth, near Bangor, participants joined a foraging walk, a tour of the project and learnt food growing skills in the ‘Grown by me’ workshop. While at Swansea Community Farm (pictured) animal handling, bee keeping, outdoor cookery, crafts and pond dipping were enjoyed by around 100 participants!
October - Make a Difference month! The CSV Make a Difference campaign is back for 2013 - and they’d like it to be bigger, better, louder and larger than ever before. CSV want to inspire everyone to volunteer this October and they need your help to do it! Help new and experienced volunteers get out and get volunteering in their communities during the whole month. Register your opportunities for volunteers so they can publicise these and point people in your direction. Contact the campaigns team for more information.
This event will involve practical sensory and wildlife gardening activities as well as learning how to record biodiversity with volunteers and networking opportunities. The final event took place at Ashfield Community Enterprise near Llandrindod Wells. The day was jam-packed with activities including a tour of the beautiful and productive gardens at Ashfield and a choice of four workshops. The team hope that this will be the first of many collaborations. www.tyfupobl.org.uk
London members all set for 15th City Harvest Festival
We’re all keeping our fingers crossed for good weather on 21 September for the 15th City Harvest Festival, a fun day out and showcase for the achievements of London’s city farms and community gardens. A short video about the festival and its importance can be found on our YouTube channel. www.youtube.com/user/ TheFCFCG
Programme includes a tour and introduction to permaculture and forest gardening, workshops on compost loos and making herbal remedies, a lovely local lunch and a talk on selling produce.
This workshop will cover guidelines and legal requirements for outdoor cooking and selling produce, juicing and cider making, and key considerations when cooking with children and vulnerable adults. We will put our learning into practice to prepare and cook the free and locally sourced lunch.
Aimed at community growing groups interested in buying land, for community gardens, community woods or CSA projects. See article opposite. For further information about any of these events and to book online visit:
Is your community group interested in buying land? Help is at hand ave you ever thought about trying to buy land for your project? It might not be as difficult as you think. Renting land will continue to be the best solution for many, but some groups have found great satisfaction in buying land and bringing it into community use in perpetuity.
below, Ben Spencer from Stroud Woodland Co-operative describes how their group used community shares to buy land. In this case study, a lot of people contributed and became co-owners of the site. You can find more information about community shares at: www.communityshares.org.uk
in Birmingham on 27 November. At the event you can hear from groups who have tried it, from the experts about how to raise money, find land to purchase and deal with legal issues, and from a bank about how to borrow money and there will be advice about managing share issues.
There are several ways to raise the money to buy land, including grants and loans. In the example
Groups considering buying land can attend an event run by the Community Land Advisory Service
For more information and to book visit: www.farmgarden.org.uk/ events/fcfcg-events-in-england
Community finance case study: Stroud Woodland Co-operative The setting up of the Stroud Woodland Co-operative was set in motion when a small wood within a mile of Stroud came up for sale at auction. An informal group was quickly established with the idea of purchasing Folly Wood as a co-operative. With only five days before the auction we leapt into action, and we received sufficient pledges of financial support to make a winning bid for the wood. With a surge of adrenalin and the clock ticking on the date for the final financial settlement, we set about establishing a Community Benefit Society using the community shares model with the help and advice of Co-operative Futures and Co-operatives UK. We also quickly set up an account with the Co-operative Bank to help us translate pledges into cheques. The aims of the society were agreed in order to reflect the many interests in, and possibilities of, woodlands in the Stroud area and to enable wider activities than just the purchase of Folly Wood.
We sought community finance as a means of both raising funds quickly from a wide catchment and as a way of providing people with direct and mutual ownership of local land. We asked people to invest in £500 blocks of shares. We were clear that there was to be no financial dividend but that the benefit would be in social, educational and ecological terms. The legal structure enabled us to be equitable in terms of share ownership and voting rights - more shares do not mean more votes. We set no upper limit on the purchase of shares and in practice individuals bought one block of £500. Another advantage of this legal form was that we could establish an asset lock preventing demutualisation - the selling off of the organisation’s assets in order to make a personal profit for shareholders. We raised £32,000 in time to complete the purchase of Folly Wood. The bulk of the money invested was spent on that purchase but we also allowed for a contingency fund for work
to be carried out in the wood, insurance and so on. We are planning to apply for grants to extend our work and we may set an annual charge for shareholders to cover overheads and the costs of establishing a Friends’ group. The possible risks to the community investors are low as we have the asset of the wood. We were clear in our share offer information that it may be difficult for investors to withdraw their money, as this can only happen by agreement with the Stroud Woodland Co-operative. Almost all our investors live in Stroud and straddle a wide range of ages - with grandparents through to babes in arms attending our first celebration. Many are families with young children. An initial survey of our members’ priorities identified an interest in developing the wood for recreation uses such as camping, ecological conservation and the learning of woodland based skills and livelihoods. www.stroudwoods.org.uk Page 13
Management and resources
Neighbourhood planning for community growing
ince Autumn 2011, there have been major reforms to the planning system in England through the Localism Act and the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). In this article, Community Land Advisor, Rebecca Marshall sets out the opportunities now available to benefit community growing projects. In the planning context, land used for community growing is called ‘green infrastructure’. This is a broad term and includes but is not limited to parks, gardens, school playing fields, woodlands, wildlife reserves and allotments. The Localism Act 2011 made several significant changes to the planning system in England, including the ability for neighbourhoods to create their own plans for their area (Neighbourhood Plans). These plans set out the use, development and environmental issues to guide future growth and development of the area. The Act also expanded what Community Infrastructure Levies (CIL) could be spent on. CIL is a payment made by a developer for providing, improving, replacing or maintaining infrastructure, for example schools, roads, roundabouts etc. These are similar to Section 106 Agreements. CIL can be used to pay for improvements to existing sites as well as the creation of new sites. Although outside the scope of this article, the ‘community right to bid’ was also part of this Act. Further information is available from the Asset Transfer Unit at Locality: http://locality.org.uk/ourwork/assets/asset-transfer-unit
Many neighbourhoods are now either consulting on or have started writing their Neighbourhood Plans. Strategies that will benefit ‘green infrastructure’ ought to be included in these plans, for example provisions that will protect and improve existing sites or create new ones. If there isn’t a Neighbourhood Plan being developed in your area, perhaps you might like to write it? Here is a simple checklist of actions that can be taken in the Neighbourhood Plan to protect and improve existing sites: 1. Protect existing sites by not allocating development areas on them. 2. Record valued green spaces. 3. Fund improvements through s106 Agreements and CILs. 4. Create policies on planting/ landscaping to influence the local authority, eg changing from bedding plants to vegetables in council managed flower beds. New community growing sites can be created in Neighbourhood Plans through designation in the site allocation plan (which also designates sites for housing, retail etc) and by incorporating provision for them into the design statements for new building developments: For example: 1. The layout for new developments should include communal beds/greens/ allotment areas. 2. State a minimum garden size for new housing developments or where there are no individual gardens, state the minimum area of communal growing space per residence.
3. Insist that landscaping includes fruit trees (if you have a local variety – ask for this type). 4. Require that the design incorporates raised beds/ planters/window boxes. Neighbourhood Plans can include Neighbourhood Development Orders which can automatically grant planning permission for a specific development or type of development which will fulfil the vision and policies of the Neighbourhood Plan. For example an order could provide for a change of use into gardens, or the building of compost toilets or polytunnels. For further information contact: www.communitylandadvice.org. uk or www.locality.org.uk If you need specific advice on making a planning application have a look at this factsheet prepared by FCFCG member, Horfield Organic Community Orchard: http://en.communitylandadvice. org.uk/sc/resouce/planning-hogcoplanning-toolkit The Government’s planning portal is also a useful source of information: www.planningportal. gov.uk/permission
Management and resources Online criminal record checks for volunteers A new online service to make it easier for charities to see if potential volunteers have up-todate criminal records checks has gone live. Volunteers can subscribe for free to the Update Service, which costs ÂŁ13 a year for employees, when they apply to the Disclosure and Barring Service for new criminal records checks. Each applicant is given a unique subscription number that they can use to access their personal online account. The volunteer can then allow organisations to access their online account for free, where they can view their most recent DBS certificates. If a change has happened since the volunteerâ€™s last criminal records check, it will be flagged up on their account. www.gov.uk/disclosure-barringservice-check/overview
Dutch city farms - earning from fat recycling! Visitors to city farms in the Netherlands can bring their used cooking oil with them to be recycled. The farms that have joined this scheme receive a 240 litre container in which the fat and oil can be stored. When it is full it is collected by a fat recyling company and the city farm gets about 30 euros. In the UK there are companies that collect from community organisations. Although they may not be prepared to pay for the oil itself, there are cash prizes for those that collect the most. You might wish to explore this as an extra service to offer your community. www.properoils.co.uk/unblocking-the-community/champion
Local Food: 101 inspirations & aspirations The Local Food programme have been busy asking the people involved in the projects what inspires them about the Local Food programme, and what their aspirations are for the future. These have been published as a download and will be used to inform views about the Local Food programme and its future.
Allotment site design guide The Scottish Allotment and Garden Society (SAGS) have published a new guide which will assist local authorities and gardening groups to make the best possible use of the land they have available for allotments through good, practical design. Free to download from:
CTXchange Through this programme, eligible UK-based charities are able to request donated technology products from partners such as Microsoft, Symantec and Cisco. The products include operating system software and server software, security software and hardware products such as switches, routers, wireless equipment and firewalls.
Funding, training and other opportunities BBC Children In Need Grants The BBC Children In Need vision is that every child in the UK has a childhood which is safe, happy, secure and allows them the chance to reach their potential. The Main Grants programme is open to charities and not-for-profit organisations applying for grants over £10,000 per year for up to three years. They give grants for children and young people of 18 years and under experiencing disadvantage through: • illness, distress, abuse or neglect • any kind of disability • behavioural or psychological difficulties • living in poverty or situations of deprivation They fund organisations working to combat this disadvantage and to make a real difference to children and young people’s lives. Application deadline: 15 September www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/ b008dk4b
Biffaward Main Grants Community Under this scheme, Biffaward awards grants to projects that provide or improve community spaces, cultural facilities and places for outdoor recreation. You may have a building that needs improvement to increase the range of services on offer to the local community. Or maybe an open space such as a park, play area or woodland that needs transforming to benefit local people of all ages. Grants between £5,000 and £50,000 are available. Page 16
There is an online application process which starts with an eligibility checker. Applications can be submitted at any time. www.biffa-award.org/main-grantsscheme
www.theBigGive. org.uk The Big Give website is designed to help donors of all sizes find and support charitable causes in their field of interest. The Big Give is free to all users, and any registered UK charity may register and post their projects on the site.
Community Plus London The Santander Foundation and Mayor’s Fund for London have launched Community Plus London, a new £100,000 scheme to provide grants of up to £5,000 to small registered charities across London. Grants will be awarded for local community projects, in any field, across a wide range of activities. Projects supporting health, skills and employment outcomes for young people in the capital are especially encouraged. Anyone can nominate a favourite local charity for a grant including charities themselves and members of the public. Application deadline 12 September www.mayorsfundforlondon.org. uk/community-plus-london
Free trees for school, community and youth groups The Woodland Trust has 4,000 free tree packs to give away this autumn. Any not-for-profit group may apply as long as the trees will be planted on
one publicly accessible site with permission from the legal landowner, with support from the community where the trees are to be planted and there is community involvement in the project. Each pack is worth £30, £105 or £420. All you need to do is find a suitable site and supply the volunteer planters and tree protection. Application deadline: 13 September www.woodlandtrust.org.uk
Garfield Weston Foundation The Garfield Weston Foundation helps small local community organisations and are prepared to consider applications covering a wide range of charitable activity. Areas funded include: education, arts, health, general, environment, community, youth, religion and welfare. Grants are made up to £50,000. www.garfieldweston.org
Green Grants Machine Green Grants Machine are the UK’s most comprehensive source of information on grants, loans and awards available to help your organisation go green and save on energy bills. The directory contains information on over £1.2 billion of funds available to help you purchase hybrid fleet vehicles, install solar panels or introduce a recycling scheme. www.greengrantsmachine.co.uk
Funding, training and other opportunities Heritage Lottery Fund - Young Roots Under this programme, HLF fund partnerships of heritage and youth organisations to help young people shape and deliver their own projects in safe environments. Whether designing a new nature trail or documenting changes to their community over time, through Young Roots projects young people make a real difference to the places where they live. In the process, their confidence grows and they learn valuable heritage and employability skills. You can apply for a grant of more than £10,000 and up to £50,000. Pre-application enquiry form can be completed online at any time. www.hlf.org.uk/HowToApply/ programmes/Pages/youngroots. aspx
Parks for People A Heritage Lottery Fund scheme for projects related to historic parks and cemeteries in the UK. You can apply for a grant from £100,000 to £5 million. Parks for People projects need to contribute towards various outcomes. For example, helping heritage to become better managed, helping local people develop skills and helping local areas and communities become better places to livem, work or visit. Full details on the website. Application deadline: 31 August www.hlf.org.uk/howtoapply
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given
to volunteer groups across the UK.
Application form and guidelines are available at:
Any group of 2 or more people undertaking volunteering work can be nominated for the award. The majority of the group must be volunteers, and more than half the volunteers must have the right to live in the UK. To be nominated they should do work that: • provides a service and meets a need for people living in the local community • is supported, recognised and respected by the local community and the people who benefit from it • is run locally.
Closing date for nominations: 30 September www.gov.uk/queens-award-forvoluntary-service
Time to Change grants The mental health charity, Time to Change, is offering grants of up to £100,000 to constituted not for profit organisations for projects that bring people with and without mental health problems together to challenge discrimination in their communities. Application deadline: 18 September http://time-to-change.org.uk/grants
Variety Youth Club Programme Variety believe that a key way of helping disadvantaged youngsters to achieve their ambitions is through supporting youth clubs and community projects to open doors for many children and young people whom would not otherwise be encouraged to develop their skills and their social networks.
WREN Small Grants WREN awards grants to community and environmental projects across the UK. All projects must be located within 10 miles of a WRG landfill site. This scheme is designed to assist applicants looking for funding on small projects that can make a real difference to their local communities. Awards are between £2,000 and £15,000 with a total project cost of under £50,000. Projects that can be considered include: community centres and public parks, playgrounds and nature reserves. Application deadlines vary according to regions - see website for details. If your project is not eligible to apply under this scheme, it may still be worth having a look at the main grants scheme. www.wren.org.uk/schemes
InfoZone Don’t forget that as an FCFCG member you can access a wealth of online information resources via our website. Simply visit:
Enewsletter Containing funding and other opportunities, the enewsletter is sent out to members inbetween issues of If you would like to make sure you are on the mailing list, please send your email address to:
FCFCG member services
Make the most of your FCFCG membership
s an FCFCG member you are part of the wider movement of community-managed green spaces that benefit from the support, representation and promotion FCFCG provides. This page summarises the key benefits available to you.
Support Services • Development staff and a pool of experienced Fieldworkers based across the UK provide practical help and advice on a range of subjects and issues. • Emergency information and support (eg for disease outbreaks such as bird flu). • Free financial advice session with our Finance Manager (subject to availability). • Access to specialist support networks and initiatives including the School Farms Network and Growing With Schools. • Networking and training opportunities, including local networking and training events throughout the year on themes requested by our membership. These events are free or highly subsidised for members.
Publications and mailings • You will receive free copies, either by post or email depending on your membership category, of our quarterly members’ newsletter Growing Places, and our Summer Public Newsletter and Annual Review. • Single hard copies of publications are available free to members on request, where available. • Multiple copies of promotional publications such as maps and Page 18
leaflets are also available. • We will circulate your inserts for job vacancies, events etc free of charge in our postal mailings.
Travel Bursaries • Travel bursaries of up to £150 (when available) towards the costs of visits to other community groups in your area or to our training/networking events. For more details contact your local FCFCG staff member.
Online Services • You will have access to our comprehensive online resource centre in the members Info Zone on our website. • Copies of publications and newsletters are available to download. • Using FCFCG website’s online shop to market items for sale (in development). • Advertising and promotion for your events on our website. • Our site has specific regional or country pages with useful local information. • Regular e-newsletters and ebulletins to keep you informed of news, funding, training and information resources.
Other benefits • Information about a public liability insurance scheme designed specifically for allotments and community gardens (joining FCFCG does NOT mean you automatically have insurance cover). • Access to our exhibitions, digital presentations, photographs and videos.
• Access to FCFCG grants and bursaries (when available) and subsidised feasibility studies and consultancy services at discounted rates. • Members who receive visitors are prioritised to be featured in our popular map publications, highlighting city farms and community gardens in regions across the UK which are available free to the general public. • There are opportunities for FCFCG to raise your profile if you: host events that we run, have an article in Growing Places magazine or host a Seeing is Believing tour for policy makers. • Members can nominate someone to the FCFCG Board.
NCVO/SCVO membership NCVO in England and SCVO in Scotland are umbrella bodies providing specialised information, advice and support to the voluntary and community sector. All English FCFCG community members with an income of less than £10,000 per year are automatically eligible for free NCVO community membership. For details of NCVO benefits see: www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/FCFCG All Scottish FCFCG community members with an income of less than £25,000 per year are entitled to free SCVO membership. For details of SCVO benefits see: www.scvo.org.uk Unfortunately, we do not currently offer a similar benefit for members in Wales and Northern Ireland.
FCFCG member services
Get in touch... F
CFCG has several offices throughout the UK through which we deliver our services to members.
Areas covered by our Development Workers Key: Northern Ireland Scotland
Staff at our UK office in Bristol can deal with general enquiries, press and PR, membership, finance, and requests for information and support. Our Chief Executive, Jeremy Iles, can also be contacted at this office.
Tel. 0117 923 1800 email@example.com
Development staff across the UK Our development staff can provide specialist hands-on advice and have a knowledge of sources of information, support and funding in your area. For details of individual staff in each team please see the relevant pages of our website.
Wales Our Wales staff work from offices in Cardiff, Pembrokeshire, and Llanberis. The team in Cardiff deals with general enquiries and can provide contact details for the other offices. Tel. 02920 235 535 or 225 942 firstname.lastname@example.org www.farmgarden.org.uk/wales
Scotland Our Scottish team are based at Gorgie City Farm, Edinburgh. Tel. 0131 623 7058 email@example.com www.farmgarden.org.uk/scotland
Midlands North England London East England
Northern Ireland Our Northern Ireland team are based in Belfast. Tel. 07725 699 442 firstname.lastname@example.org www.farmgarden.org.uk/ northern-ireland
England We have four offices in England:
North Our staff in the North of England are based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne Tel. 01207 562 317 email@example.com www.farmgarden.org.uk/north
London and the East
Our London team are based at Kentish Town City Farm. Tel. 0207 485 5001 firstname.lastname@example.org www.farmgarden.org.uk/london
Our Midlands team are based in Coventry. Tel. 02476 675 211 email@example.com www.farmgarden.org.uk/midlands
Our South West team are based in Exeter. Tel. 01392 243 233 firstname.lastname@example.org www.farmgarden.org.uk/ south-west
Projects and partnerships Growing with Schools (GWS) Tel. 02476 675 211 email@example.com www.growing-with-schools.org.uk
Community Land Advice Service (CLAS) England: Tel. 0117 966 9491 england@communitylandadvice. org.uk Scotland Tel. 0131 225 2080 scotland@communitylandadvice. org.uk Wales 02921 960 966 wales@communitylandadvice. org.uk www.communitylandadvice. org.uk Page 19
Growing Places Membersâ€™ magazine - Issue 3 2013, August UK Office The GreenHouse, Hereford Street, Bristol, BS3 4NA Tel. 0117 923 1800 Fax. 0117 923 1900 firstname.lastname@example.org
www.farmgarden.org.uk News, events, job vacancies, how to set up a new city farm or community garden, members zone and online seachable database giving details of city farms and community gardens across the UK.
Copy date for next issue: 23 September We are happy to include items sent in by members, including news about your project, ideas and advice for other projects.
Supporting communities to manage their local green spaces. Patron HRH The Prince of Wales Chief Executive Jeremy Iles Chair David Drury Charity no. 294494 Company no. 2011023 Scottish charity no. SCO39440 Printed using vegetable-based inks on recycled paper.
This newsletter can be made available in large type, Braille or on audio-tape. Tel. 0117 923 1800 FCFCG receives funding from many sources including: