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

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.

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 sara@ediblebristol.org.uk. 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