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……

Free Food Growing Courses!!

Pumpkins at Cultivation Place

We hope that got your attention!!

Pumpkins at Cultivation Place

With thanks to the National Lottery we are able to offer some free courses to people living in certain parts of Bristol. We have chosen the areas based on some work we undertook last year that focuses on things that stop people becoming involved in food growing and gardening, as we believe it is vital to the future of horticulture that gardening becomes accessible and a place everyone feels welcome.

And what do we mean by gardening? It’s not just pretty flowers. with that it’s likely that the word gardening in the uk is really one that is going to be relegated to the past, as when we look at the gardening media, programmes about gardening and gardening events, and see that gardening as a concept appears to be one that is white, middle class, and one that relies on access to land. We don’t think this is fair, or right, as we know that across our towns and cities there are people growing food, growing flowers and tending to spaces for nature, who are from our diverse and marginalised communities. We know that up and down the UK we see refugees and asylum seekers growing food and community on allotments and other community spaces. We also know that most allotment sites are microcosms of the community that surrounds them, and as well as being important for growing and for individuals to feel connected with our planet, they are also vital places for communities to meet and to begin to understand and integrate with each other. They are places where food cultures meet, where a diversity of seeds are exchanged and where generational skills are passed to new people to keep those skills alive.

So with that when we hear communities telling us that they don’t get involved because they don’t recognise themselves in what they see as gardening on TV, in the media and at events, we see that we need to take up the challenge and create a new world that comes from a garden, but a garden where we all feel at home. Where everyone is equal and where food and growing culture is celebrated whilst we work on the acts of food growing and healthy land management. Where gardening doesn’t mean owning land, but where the creation of a garden from lost, unloved space in a city is celebrated and seen as communities finding their their own responses to the huge global issues of the climate and biodiversity, as well as working towards food justice.

Of course there’s more to it than just enthusing and welcoming people. Access to land to grow is becoming more and more of an issue, and further and further from people’s reality. The most marginalised people in cities are always those with least access to land and to nature and when we think about Bristol and it’s high rises it’s not difficult to see that is as true here as anywhere else. Land is at such a premium that it’s nigh on impossible to access it without generational wealth, and again that most negatively affects marginal, or new communities in the city. But surely then that is an ask to our city council and others, to open up land, open up parks and public housing land, to communities wanting to grow. The huge tracts of land that surround our tower blocks, the marginal areas of the city, the railway sidings and space waiting to be developed, are all possibilities with the right policy in place and an understanding that as a species we need to connect with nature and with soil and where our food comes from.

Gardening has become a safe space according to the garden media. We are set to show that gardening and food growing is revolutionary and creates opportunities not just for people to connect, but to create jobs, through education and an understanding that if we are to decarbonise we need land based livelihoods and localised food systems. And this is our hope with these free courses. If people have not had the opportunity to have a go, to grow something, anything, how can they take the opportunities that gardening gives seriously? This is the opportunity to change that!

Eventually we hope this course will be available to all and that paying participants will subsidise free places, but for now check the list below of postcodes that qualify and we look forward to seeing you in the garden!

Courses are free for people from the following postcodes. BS2,BS3,BS4, BS5,BS7, BS11, BS13,BS14,BS16

Once signed up we will contact you and ask 2 questions-what is your postcode and most importantly what is it that makes you feel unwelcome in the gardening world?

Links to courses will be here and will be regularly updated

Winter Talks At Edible Bristol

Pumpkins at Cultivation Place

Whilst the weather is cold and the evenings dark, we thought it would be a good idea to create a series of online talks. All the gardeners and food growers who are joining us are people who are gardeners but are also climate, soil and social activists, who’s aim is to, in some way, support both climate and biodiversity crises through their growing practices. We will be adding to this list throughout the season and if there’s anyone in particular you’d like to hear do get in touch and we will see what we can arrange.

All funds raised will be ploughed back into our community work.

We begin on 4th November with Stephanie Hafferty talking about no dig gardening in her new garden.

On 9th December we have botanist and ecologist Becky Searle talking about soil health.

On 21st January we have Adam Jones talking about his no dig journey

And more will be announced as they are confirmed! Don’t miss out-the tickets are selling like hot cakes!!

Welcome To Cultivation Place!

Pumpkins at Cultivation Place

Over the last couple of years we have been creating a space for learning at Speedwell Allotments. Cultivation Place will be home, in 2022, to a whole host of events that will support individuals and communities to grow more food, more pollinator friendly planting and also to look at gardening as a response to both climate and biodiversity crises. All our workshops and courses will be run by people who are experts in their fields, with our primary tutor being our founder, Sara Venn.

We also hope to run some events where we can bring people together for discussions that will create real change across the city and bring together networks to offer support and opportunity to all involved in community gardening across the city.

We will release the courses for next year in January, but in the meantime we will be running our How To Grow course one last time for 2021, beginning on October 2nd-the details are in the link below!

And watch out for our autumn/winter talks which will begin soon.

We are partnering with Yeo Valley to ensure equity in growing education.

Never has it been more important to create an equitable food system where individuals and communities can take back control of the way they buy and eat food. Food growing skills are being lost, and despite being in a city that has more than 91 languages spoken with in it, and that is rich in food cultures access to education to learn land based skills is patchy and often expensive. Add to that an explosive housing market and more and more people finding themselves in unstable housing, many people come to the conclusion that food growing, gardening or even a career on the land, is just something that feels like a pipe dream, totally unrealistic and unaccessible.

But we want to show people that that is not the case-growing food and gardening is for everyone and to begin with we would like to address the issue of how to learn the skills needed when it feels that any learning opportunities are out of reach. To do this we are teaming up with Yeo Valley Organic who are supporting us to support more equitable learning opportunities by giving us the opportunity to offer free spaces on our How To Grow courses to people from BPOC backgrounds. Starting in mid July our courses will return to being in person at our Cultivation Place in Speedwell, as well as still being available online again from September.

The course, which we call How To Grow, offers 6 weeks of learning, both practical and theoretical, and each participant will learn what we like to think of as the building blocks of growing. We cover soil and soil health, seeds and seed sowing, propagation techniques, composting knowledge and how to work with wildlife to create a healthy ecosystem in your space, whatever that space might look like. Whether you have a balcony, a window box, a space for a few pots, or a tiny urban back garden, or even no space at all but are still interested in learning, this course is for you and what we hope will happen in the long run is that the mainstream gardening media will wake up and see that gardening isn’t all chocolate box and perfection, but sometimes is a fight for land and for somewhere to grow!

So if you have a BPOC heritage please do get in touch and let us know why you would like to take part. The first in person course begins on Saturday 17th July and all you need to do is commit to 6 Saturday sessions from 11 to 3. Interested? Send an email to and we will get back to you to confirm your space!!

Get Growing at our Cultivation Place!

For the last few months we have been working hard behind the scenes on a space at our Cultivation Place at Speedwell, creating what is the equivalent of a tiny urban back garden, or a tiny yard space. We are so aware that for many renters, house sharers and flat dwellers, for people from marginalised communities growing food and creating beautiful spaces feels like something they may never be able to achieve, but we are aiming to set out to prove that is not the case and that anyone can grow some of their own food, no matter how pushed for space they might be. Growing and gardening is a space that many people don’t recognise themselves in and we know that it is vital that we change this, and this is, we hope, a start.

This work is being made possible by Linda McCartney Foods, who are celebrating their 30 year anniversary by supporting 6 community garden and learning spaces across the UK. Their kind funding is making it possible for us to offer several 6 week course to 18-28 year olds who feel they would like to learn about growing in rented or impermanent spaces and how to go about it but for whom access to growing education has never been possible due to costs or just general access issues or not feeling that they are seen in that sector. The 6 weeks will include learning on soils, on composts and composting, on growing plants from seeds and propagation, and give the participants the basis of designing small spaces and how to ensure they have all the knowledge needed to take their experience back into their communities and homes.

This is the space to be built into an urban, productive back yard garden!

This course will be practical, hands on experience that will include lots of opportunity to ask questions, experiment within the space that is being built and give all participants the building blocks of good gardening and growing, using ecological principles. We can offer 6 places per course, and the first course will begin on  Monday 19thJuly and be from 11am to 3pm. 

If you think this is the course for you or someone you might know drop an email to Sara Venn, our lead, and she will get back to you with further information. Her email is The course will be lead by both Sara and our community facilitator Luke Murray.

To follow what we are up to on this project follow our tags on social media-#GYOwithLinda #EdibleBristol

Success with Seeds-an online opportunity!!

Every season gardeners and growers tell us they have failed to grow crops and flowers from seed, so we have created this opportunity for people to come along and to learn from our founder and lead, Sara Venn, about failsafe methods of growing productive plants from seed.

Whether you need increased confidence, help at certain points in the process or are new to growing from seed, this is the course that will help you to have far more success. The link to book is below…..