Growing Futures 2024


Following a successful first year of Edible Bristol’s Growing Futures course we are excited to open up bookings for 2024

The aim of Growing Futures is to support participants to explore a deeper connection with growing food, supporting nature and land based futures, whether that is as a career or looking at self sufficiency.

Growing Futures is one day per week, February to October, every Thursday during Bristol term times, from 9.30-3 at Cultivation Place in Speedwell. There are also occasional visits to local producers and projects. During school holidays there is also the opportunity to come along to practical work parties on site.

The course involves lots of practical, hands on learning, from successful seed sowing, propagation, annual and perennial veg growing, to fruit trees and pruning, orchards and forest gardening. We support learning of circular systems, such as no dig, growing agroecologically and creating spaces and growing plans. All of this is backed up with theory based classroom sessions and with time allowed for reflection on subjects both with our team and peer to peer

Growing Futures is a great opportunity for exploration of land based careers and personal futures in light of the climate and biodiversity crises, and holds the group in a safe space to talk about these enormous issues whilst learning practical solutions. Whether participants are interested in land based careers or are just looking to create resilience in their own growing, the season opens up possibilities, networks and plenty of conversation, providing a safe space to explore, question and find your path onto a land based future.


Term 1

W/C 19thth February -w/c 25th March

This terms will cover basic agroecological growing principals including soil and bed preparation and management, composting, soil health and the soil food web along with seasonal seed sowing. There will be a focus on observation of the land to understand what it needs and how it behaves. There will also be a full session on pruning fruit trees, based at our Millennium Square Gardens.

Term 2

w/c 15th April-w/c 24thMay

This term we will look at the principles of agroecology and seasonality, focusing on utilising knowledge from term 1 and building on that. Working both in a polytunnel and in outside beds we will look at how to get the best harvests whilst still focusing on soil health, working with the seasons. Introducing productive margins for wildlife, as well as the importance of ponds and utilising any waste as materials for composting, and eliminating the need to buy in inputs. Alongside sowing and planting, intercropping and the beginnings of harvesting this term will be vital learning to build on in future terms.

Term 3

w/c 3rdth June- w/c 23rd July

Building on term 2, term 3 will focus on observation, plant health, maintaining land and healthy soils, alongside propagation and harvesting. This term will also see opportunities to hear farmers and growers speak about their businesses and projects. There will also be focus on business, from setting up to governance and ensuring your business model works for you and the land on which it relies.

Term 4

w/c 2nd September- 25hth October

Term 4 will look at preparation for the year ahead, alongside harvesting and winter growing. There will be a focus on good winter use of the polytunnel, alongside what can be grown outside for winter crops and to ensure the spring hungry gap is as short as possible. We will look at diversifying and creating opportunities over winter alongside looking at how land based businesses can support local communities. There will be opportunity to look back at the year, hear from land based business people and learn about local network that will support new land based businesses.

For further information and prices contact

And below is some feedback from this years cohort……


We are working with a group of water industry professionals, the city council’s allotment team and others on a dynamic project looking at water use across Bristol’s allotment community with a focus on Speedwell Allotments as that is where Cultivation Place is based.

Water is a precious resource and with hose pipe bans being implemented in the UK how long before watering allotments during the summer becomes prohibitive? As growers working with and supporting nature isn’t it up to us to reduce our mains use and look at cultural processes to hold water in the soil?

The aim of this project is two fold.

Aim one is to look at how much water we use and how much water we would need to save to never have to use mains water again which sounds like a big ask but we already know that in June we use approximately 1 Intermediate Bulk Container, or IBC’s worth which is 1000litres, and so assuming May, July and August need similar, that we are absolutely able to collect that water from sheds on site. However, we are also in talks with the Housing Association that runs the flats where the old Speedwell Baths are, to look at utilising water from their roof spaces which would enable far more water collection for the entire site, at no extra cost to plot holders.

Aim two is more about cultural processes within food growing and how they can support soil to collect and store more water that is available to plants. There are two reasons to look at this which are firstly that sustainable growing practices need to be quantified as water becomes a less abundant resource due to climate change. Also rain water is undoubtedly better for growing plants and saves on fertiliser use due to it’s chemical makeup and so it is always preferable to utilise what falls from the skies.

Of course it goes without saying that what we are really talking about is healthy soils, another important action to mitigate climate change.

Once we have the results we will, of course, let you know, but we’ll update here regularly.

Soil Justice! An evening for Food Justice Fortnight

During Food Justice Fortnight, run by our friends at Feeding Bristol, we held an evening of food and conversation based around soil, access to soil/land for growing and social justice.

At EdibleBristol we believe that everyone should have the right to grow some of their own food if they wish to, and we know also that those most at risk of food inequality are those who feel lest able to access that. Our conversation began with our founder, Sara, talking about horticulture and agriculture, and how access to land for anyone was a struggle despite land being all around us. Food justice comes from grassroots activism that begins on the land and we have seen over and again how communities in deep need will take what land they need to grow food when people are hungry. Cuba, Detroit, and others all grew themselves out of hunger using lost, unloved and unused land. Not asking for permission but asking for foregiveness if needed!

As a wealthy city Bristol’s food inequality figures are startling. 1 in 20 Bristolians are at risk every day and that become 1 in 7 in the disabled community. Whilst no one should be expected to become self sufficient overnight, local communities can support each other where land is available. And support both climate and biodiversity crises at the same time.

There were lots of thoughts, but the general take away points seemed to us to be……

Access to allotments isn’t accessible and we need more.

We need a pesticide free future for our city.

That there is a new policy/planning commitment that developments of over 60 homes should have allotment space allocated within them, and that perhaps this ought to look like community outdoor space rather than individual plots.

That sadly allotments rarely foster a sense of community although there are exceptions.

These are all things we will begin wider conversations around!

Chatting about food and soil

Food metres rather than miles-all from the garden at Cultivation Place

Flowers from the garden

And we’ll keep you informed here!! In the meantime some photos of the evening…… Yum

Food Justice Fortnight

Food Justice is a movement that began in the US, and is fundamental to the work of Edible Bristol. Food Justice is the creation of a food system that gives everyone equal access to good, affordable, culturally appropriate food, and recognises that that food must be produced sustainably, with land workers being given fair pay for their work.

Food justice and food sovereignty go hand in hand.

‘We advocate for government policy and legislation to be grounded in a fundamental Right to Food, and to be guided by the six principles of food sovereignty: that food is produced for people, not profit; that food systems operate on a local and regional scale where possible; that control is centred in the hands of local communities; that food producers, farmers and growers are valued; that land-based skills and knowledge are nurtured and developed; and that food production works with nature and not against it. ‘(Landworkers Alliance)

Feeding Bristol are again leading on Food Justice Fortnight and there are lots of events taking place which you will find here.

This includes an opportunity to come along and share a meal, and a tour of our Cultivation Place in Speedwell, and join in with a discussion on the importance of soil for food justice. You can book your ticket here



Call for volunteers

Are you looking to join a crew of delivery-based activists?
We’re looking for 5/6 new core team members who will come along and support our gardens in the city, Avonmouth and Speedwell, as well as various other spaces we support and can commit to two 4-hour sessions per month!
You don’t need to know anything about growing other than that in a city, it’s a form of deliverable activism that can also support food justice and social and climate justice!!
If you’re interested, drop an email to, and we’ll get back to you!!
Look forward to getting growing!