In 2021 we opened the Incredible Flower Farm, growing flowers for folks who subscribed and who collected a beautiful bouquet twice a month from May to October. Throughout the year we have seen tulips, ranunculus, roses, snapdragons, sunflowers, dahlias and much more head into people’s homes, and are so pleased to see the joy on subscribers faces as the season progressed and new blooms arrived.
For 2022 we are able to offer a few more subscriber places, and we have decided to announce this now, a good few months before they will be available, so that people have an opportunity to buy a subscription for a loved one for Christmas. After all, what better way to say happy Christmas than to give someone a seasonal bouquet twice a month?
As with 2021 subscribers will be able to collect their bouquet from the flower farm itself every other Saturday from May to October. If you subscribe for a gift we will send you a voucher to give to the recipient and we will engage with them directly once the season has begun! If you’d like to find out prices and subscribe or know more please do email firstname.lastname@example.org
Recently we have turned our thoughts more and more towards what sustainability means. Whilst we will always be reliant on funding to some degree, what we know is that as funding is harder and harder to get, we need to focus on creating sustainable funding streams based on what we know we can do well.
Our ongoing plans include more courses and workshops, events at our Speedwell site and growing plants that will be for sale. However, as with everything these things take time . We intend to get far more going throughout this season, and are also very aware of restrictions and the importance of not promising too much whilst we are at a critical point in the pandemic. However, one thing we can look at is marketing our Incredible Flower Club.
From May to October we will be offering people the opportunity to subscribe to our Incredible Flower Club and collect a bucket of flowers twice a month from our site at Speedwell. This will be a very limited offer, as we don’t want to overpromise, and so the first 5 people to sign up will become the 2021 flower club. We also hope to be able to offer club members other flowery opportunities as the season progresses.
The cost to be a member of the Incredible Flower Club in 2021 will be £240 per year, and collections will begin at the start of May. If you would like to be a member please email us at email@example.com and we will send you all you need to sign up.
If you read our previous post you will know that we lost our poly tunnel to Storm Ellen and that we were preparing to launch a crowdfunder
Today is the day we launch our campaign. We are asking for £5000, to replace the tunnel, to build it properly so it is secure on our windy site, for compost and for tools. As we move forwards our aim has always been to have a site where we could create more opportunities for people to come along and learn more about food growing, both as communities and individuals, and the poly tunnel is central to that aim and vital for us to continue to propagate plants for the gardens across the city.
So how can you help? We know times are hard, and this especially has been dreadful and continues to be so. But a share to a social media platform, tagging us so we can say thank you, a couple of quid or a mention to your friends and neighbours all really help.
Thus far we have worked on this space for 2 years and we are almost there, with plans to start workshops and courses over the winter months and into the spring but without the tunnel active we cannot continue.
And so we thank you, in advance, for the help we hope you might give, and we look forward to a launch event in spring that will create opportunities for the whole city to get growing.
Recently we have had something of a disaster but we wanted to share it with you, not for pity, but to show that things go wrong and what’s important is how we pick ourselves up and move forwards.
August and September have been challenging and not least down to, for growers and farmers, the weather. We knew the tranquil warmth of early summer couldn’t last but we hoped it might, but lo and behold two storms in the space of a week caused just a bit of chaos. At the Speedwell site where we are setting up our learning site, disaster struck when Storm Ellen hit, and in a few swoops of her anger, lifted and totally split the cover of the poly tunnel we were gifted at the beginning of the year. And then to add insult to injury in the next three days our beautiful crop of tomatoes were totally annihilated by the blight that hit once the crop was in the open. Disaster and 7 months of growing that crop seemingly down the drain.
So we sulked for a minute. Scratched our heads and rank some tea and decided that rather than spending time and energy on negativity, we needed to find a positive solution. And that is the point of this piece!!
Next Monday we will release a crowdfunding appeal and we hope we will get the support we need to buy and install and new poly tunnel and one that will be more secure and able to cope with a windy urban site and that will enable us to teach more people how they can get involved in the community growing revolution we see across the city.
But why is this important we hear you ask?
Over the course of the pandemic as well as offering online skill sharing we have used the two safe spaces we have to grow food for vulnerable communities. Each week boxes of food grown by our core teams have headed into communities, supported people struggling with food insecurity and ensured communities often forgotten felt seen. From salads through to potatoes, courgettes, chard, kale, corn, pears, beans, peas, beetroot and more have been harvested and given to people. And we want to carry this on, on a much larger scale, now that we can get back into the public gardens. We want them all to be places of abundance, places the whole city sees as a city asset, growing food, sharing skills and being community. But to do this we need a poly tunnel to grow on seedlings, start crops growing and grow those elusive tomatoes, along with peppers, chillies and aubergines, that we all love.
So please watch out for our crowdfunded going live on Monday 28th and share it with your friends and neighbours and get involved with the movement to grow food in all our communities for everyone!!
Plants are always one of our biggest challenges and we are very fortunate to have some local nurseries and garden centres who regularly donate to us, either stock they can no longer use or plants that we have cheekily asked for. However, gardens such as the Bearpit and the Quakers Burial Ground, our Edible Park, are large and often what appears to be a large number of plants actually really don’t go very far.
The other challenge with the Quakers Burial Ground is it’s shade. A magnificent plane stands in it’s midst which throws shade across most of the garden and although that is of course welcome on a hot day, it’s a challenge to find plants that will be happy to live under and around it.
So imagine our absolute joy when we were offered an entire show garden of plants from RHS Tatton, by garden designer and friend of Incredible Edible Bristol, Giulio Passarelli. I met Giulio in Sheffield on my trip to meet Ron Finley in 2014 and we have remained in touch and when he found out that he had been given the opportunity of making a show garden this year, Giulio was determined that we have the plants.
Now some people have assumed that what this means is that we will be recreating the garden, but that could not be further from the truth. there will be no putting down of an unwanted, and unconsulted about garden in a space where it is assumed local volunteers will look after it. That has been done far too many times and sadly often ends up with a sad looking garden in an even sadder looking space. What we will be receiving is the plants to do with as we will. To spread out amongst our gardens and to make change in the spaces that we are already working in.
The plants are not edible so will not be appropriate for many of our gardens but for spaces such as the Quakers Burial Ground and The Bearpit Garden, where beauty jostles with productivity , they will add an extra dimension to what we already do. And they will continue to help us not just to create beautiful and productive gardens in lost and unloved spaces, but they will support us to continue to challenge and question the ways in which public space is used in our cities.
We have once again been successful in getting through to the vote on a Bags of Help grant from Tesco and we need you to help us by voting for us when you are in store!! The money will go towards creating a bed at Millennium Square that will speak of the diversity of our city, its amazing multiculturalism and some of the extraordinary cuisines that we have across Bristol.
Chillies, okra, beans, amaranth, pumpkins and squash, lablab beans, long beans and locust beans will jostle together along with crops of greens rarely seen in the UK. As usual the bed will be both beautiful and productive and we will be consulting with our friends at 91 Ways about the project!!
if we get the full amount we will also be producing a free cookbook which we will make available to all libraries, school and community groups across the city that offer recipes both from the bed in Millennium Square and all our other beds across the city. The recipes will be a mixture from chefs that we know and trust to recipes we make all the time in our own homes.
So can we please ask that if you shop in the below branches of Tesco, you ask for a token and pop it into our box?
BRISTOL METRO Metro BS1 3DW
BRISTOL EAST EXTRA Extra BS5 6XU
BRISTOL EAST EXTRA Extra BS5 6XU
WINE ST BRISTOL EXP Express BS1 2PH
BLENHEIM CT BRSTL EXP Express BS1 3LA
BRISTOL CLARE ST EXP Express BS1 1XR
COLLEGE BRISTOL EXP Express BS1 5SP
BRISTOL CANONS EXP Express BS1 5TY
CHELTNHM RD BRSTL EXP Express BS6 5RL
BRISTOL PARAGON EXP Express BS1 2HJ
Excitingly we have been awarded a grant for the ongoing work in our Edible Park at the Quakers Burial Ground opposite St Mary Redcliffe Church.
Plans are afoot to not only turn the space into an exciting space, filled with edibles that are both beautiful and productive, but to make the space one that can be used by educators to show best practise in a range of things, from composting to planting for pollinators and more.
There will also be a selection of online resources for learners of all ages and skill sets so that ideas taken from the park are replicable at home, or in a local community space, or even as guerrilla planting;)
We look forward to working with you to make this happen!!
We are excited to announce we have been shortlisted for one of three prize funds from Tesco’s Bags of Help campaign that is being facilitated by Groundworks.
This money, from £8,000 to £12,000 will help us to grow the Urban Food Trail, maintaining what has already been achieved and expanding on that to create a slightly longer and more defined trail with some of the gardens also being expanded.
So what can you do to help I hear you ask? Well from 27th February to 6th March you will have the opportunity to vote for us in Tesco stores across the city so we would ask you to do just that!! No purchase will be necessary and, as the saying goes, “every little helps”
For the last 2 months we have been crowdfunding through Spacehive for funds to carry out more amazing projects with communities in our amazing city of Bristol. We needed just over £4,000, for signage for gardens we have already worked on, to put towards three new projects that we can start planning now, and for some marketing and media materials.
We were incredibly fortunate that Experian saw our project and decided to add £2,250 to the pot, which had us all jumping up and down with joy, but with a little over a week to go we still needed over £1,000 to get us to our target. At this point we should say a massive hooray to the power of social media. We tweeted like crazy, used Facebook and emailed everyone and anyone and finally, with 24 hours to go, an anonymous donor added the final £130 to the pot. Whoever that person was, I salute you and thank you enormously as I woke on Thursday morning expecting to spend most of the day drumming up support through Twitter, emails and Facebook, and to find that target had been reached was astonishing and there may have been tears of relief.
However, we need to say thank you to everyone, everywhere, up and down the country, who have supported us, either by giving themselves, or by constantly retweeting or sharing Facebook posts. It is truly humbling to know that people see our project as one that is worthy of their support, and each and we look forward to sharing this amazing journey with each and every one of them.
Also we must give a thank you to Spacehive, who regularly supported us and generally believed in us. Without doubt we will crowdfund with Spacehive again!!
And now we must continue in our mission to turn Bristol into the UK’s first edible city, with food available on streets, in parks, on roundabouts and on unused pieces of land, in doctor’s surgeries, hospitals and schools, and anywhere and everywhere for everyone. Thank you to everyone for the unending support-it means the world.
This project is a really exciting collaboration with @Bristol and Almondsbury Garden Centre and has happened as @Bristol will be opening a new exhibition based around Food on 26th July, and it is hoped that these large planters in Millennium Square will inspire people to start to grow their own.
The planters are large-at least 2×3 metres-and previously wer full of very poorly Lonicera nitida and some Hawthorns which were really struggling. The work began by these plants being removed using diggers and we then got into the planter and began digging and adding organic matter to imrove the soil, as it has been suggested no extra matter had been added since the beds were installed. We ended up adding 2 tonnes of organic matter to this one bed!!
Then we began to plant. We had great volunteer help on the day which made the planting go really quickly and below are a few photos from the day. We planted apple trees, peas and mange tout, turnips, shallots, sprouts, pumpkins and squash, 5 varieties of salads, and 3 varieties of cabbage. Once the salads are finished we will put overwintering crops such as more brassicas and potatoes for Christmas into the bed.
The next bed will be planted up around the opening date of the Food exhibition and we will keep you up to date as we will need volubteers again