Iain Tolhurst has to be one of the legends of the sustainable, small scale farming scene. Producing fruit and veg now for over forty years, Tolhurst Organics is not only organic but certified ‘Stock Free’ – and indeed was the first farm in the world to achieve the ‘Stockfree Organic’ status attributed by the Vegan Organic Network. Through such a accolades, Iain is much sought after for his advice on market garden design and practices. To read more click on the post title or image.
Welcome to my journey around local, sustainable food production in England and Wales. A journey among the passionate and committed....a story of unlikely heroes.
I’d never seen a field of cannabis before, but there it was, right in front of my very eyes – and in rural Oxfordshire. And, it was all totally above board with the crop being grown with appropriate licence from DEFRA. Here was what might in time prove to be the beginning of usage of this remarkable crop for a whole plethora of purposes. To read more click on the post title or image.
David and Anneke Blake have created a quite wondrous space in the form of Worton Organic Garden. Its a lush and rich, seemingly chaotic melee of organically grown fruit trees and bushes, gloriously intermingled with vegetables and herbs, with a few animals thrown in, and, in the midst of it all is a small shop and artisan cafe – L’Arte de Mangier Bene – open Fridays and weekends. To read more click on the post title or image.
Giving up a successful career in engineering to become a farmer seems to run in the family at Sandy Lane Farm, a traditional, family-run, mixed livestock and market garden farm on the outskirts of Oxford. Judging by the evidence of the produce from the farm, such a background does not seem to get in the way of the farming! To read more click on the post title or image.
One of the most resounding success stories in the ‘alternative food production’ arena has to be OrganicLea. Based in the Lea Valley to the north east of London, it is a workers co-operative of a dozen or so growers and the like which produces a vast array of produce which is subsequently distributed locally via weekly box schemes. To read more click on the post title or image.
Activity across the Growing Communities Patchwork Farm builds to a climax each week on a Tuesday evening. It’s then that all the salad produce from across the farm patches reaches the ‘mixing and packing station’ of the Old Fire Station Yard on Leswin Road in Hackney. In a flurry of excitement, salad leaves and banter the incoming produce is magically transformed into the award-winning Hackney Salad, ready for distribution through 1000 or so veg boxes and a range of local shops and restaurants. To read more click on the post title or image.
The Prime Minister of the UK claims ‘a country working for everyone’. The enforced closure of Kynaston Gardens – a small patch of community green space rich and verdant with organic fruit and veg – suggests we are a long way from it. ‘A country working for everyone’, my arse! To read more click on the post title or image.
So what’s the connection between Growing Communities and an indoor climbing centre – particularly one set up in the somewhat surreal location of a castle high on a mound in the middle of Hackney? Well, obvious really isn’t it – they both want to produce local organic fruit and veg! To read more click on the post title or image.
Located in the public amenity of Springfield Park, the Springfield Gardens patch of Growing Communities is in Clapton, London E5. It’s another of the incredibly productive ‘patches’ co-ordinated through Growing Communities and maintained by a small dedicated group of professional growers, apprentices and volunteers. To read more click on the post title or image.
Clissold Park in Hackney was the location of an initial pilot which over the ensuing years has been the template for a patchwork farm co-ordinated through the Growing Communities office. These patches now extend right across the borough and produce an incredible yield of salad crops on what otherwise would be derelict disused land. To read more click on the post title or image.