Version 15 October 2008
Project Title Activating Blighted Urban Niches for Daring Agricultural Networks of Creativity and Endeavour Project Acronym ABUNDANCE Lead Organisation UCL Project Coordinator Robert Biel Project Monitor Yves Cabannes Project Start Date and End Date 1st November 2007 â€“ 31st November 2008 Total UrbanBuzz Funding
Information on project partners: Who? Transition Town Brixton (TTB) Guinness Trust Housing Association (GT) How did they contribute to the project? Perhaps a diagram can help some projects here to show relationships?
Aims and Objectives List the aim and objectives agreed at the start of the project (i.e. what were the barriers it wished to address), note if they changed during the project and the process and reasons for making those changes.
The projectâ€™s overall aim is to make a qualitative input into the Transition Towns (TT) movement, by promoting a radical rethink of the possibilities for urban agriculture (UA) in an inner-city context.
Aims & Objectives
STREAM 1- MAPPING. This stream aimed to address the physical and institutional barriers associated with identifying space and removing barriers restricting its cultivation with the ultimate purpose of the city beginning to feed itself. It aimed to do this by initiating a process of mapping of potentially cultivable land (and more broadly, space, e.g. rooftops) in Brixton, South London;
STREAM 2- GROWING This stream aimed to address social barriers associated with communities mobilizing to grow food in an inner city area. It aimed to do this by promoting the actual cultivation of one pilot plot on the Guinness Trust Estate. The 12 months of the project would coincide with a full growing season, leading to the pilot plot being fully productive by the end of the project period. This stream would demonstrate the workability of cultivation methods combining low fossil input with high productivity. (e.g. water-saving, mulching and green manures, niche planting, worm composting).
STREAM 3 – DEMONSTRATING This stream aimed to address the barriers to knowledge transfer between local communities and the academic community. It aimed to do this by showing local communities with potential growing space how they can begin Urban Agriculture, through permaculture training, setting up food hubs and cultivating local partnerships, and by encouraging cross-cultural and international knowledge-exchange. Urban agriculture in the global South (for example, in Latin America) has already amassed a rich experience of land surveys and cultivation of unconventional space. It is this best practice which the academic partners aimed to transfer to the South London community.
1. Stimulate a process of community knowledge-building and action. 2. Convince Local Authorities that they should be just as imaginative as Guinness Trust Housing Association in welcoming community UA projects into their own housing estates. 3. Contribute to a radical reappraisal of the future of cities in an era of adaptation to the need for low-throughput living. 4. Provide a live example of transition towards a low energy future.
Summary of work completed during the final interim period (if not reported previously) Please outline a brief summary of the work completed in this period, and how this links to the projects overall aims and objectives. This information maybe used in the public domain.
Objectives: Building Partnerships with Key Stakeholders
a. LDA Small Grants Scheme: The ABUNDANCE project was successful in establishing Â£810.00 from the London Development Agency (LDA) Small Grants Scheme, administered by London Food Link, towards a public sustainable food event. This money contributed towards two final events: The Great Unleashing of Transition Towns Brixton, and a networking event and site visit for Brixton housing associations and food growers.
b. International specialists & community activistâ€™s site visit: During the London Festival of Architecture (LFA), Bohn & Viljoen Architects hosted a large, public picnic in central London celebrating local and sustainable food called The Continuous Picnic. ABUNDANCE was invited to take part in this event and to enter produce from the Guinness Trust community allotment. ABUNDANCE won a prize for best quality of local produce.
c. Growing Food for London Conference: As part of building partnerships with key stakeholders, the ABUNDANCE project held a stall at the London Food Link â€˜Growing Food for Londonâ€™ event at City Hall on 30th June. Leaflets were handed out and new contacts established with London Food Link and its members. The conference was jointly organised with the London Parks and Green Spaces Forum, as part of the London Festival of Architecture. It looked at the impact of urban agriculture on the food security of London, its role in preserving the capitalâ€™s open space, educating and improving the health of Londoners and potentially reducing the distance that Londonâ€™s food has traveled.
d. Growing Round the Houses. The ABUNDANCE project features as a case study in a new briefing report on food growing and social housing, put together by London Food Link at Sustain and the Womenâ€™s Environmental Network (WEN). It explains how social housing providers and their tenants can work together on their estates to grow food.
e. Progress, a local NGO specialising in youth inclusion through organic growing. With Progress, ABUNDANCE organised workdays for volunteers though Orange Rockcorps and ongoingly with HM Treasury.
f. ABUNDANCE on BBC Radio London. ABUNDANCE featured live on BBC Radio London Breakfast Show on Thursday 17th July. Duncan Law introduced the project in the early slot at 7.20am, this was followed by a later slot at 8.20pm, in which resident Louise Jordan talked about her experience of participating in the project.
Objectives: Community mapping of cultivable spaces
a. International training workshop on Urban Agriculture & mapping given by Yves Cabannes at the Guinness Trust Estate. Attended by GT residents and local volunteers. b. Toolkit for community mapping of cultivable spaces including guidelines and survey instructions. This resource was put together by UCL and Transition Towns Brixton. c. Evaluation of community mapping toolkit. This took place at the Tulse Hill Estate and participants included Tulse Hill residents, Blenheim Garden Estate residents and local volunteers.
10 on site workdays & evenings. These work sessions involved residents of the Guinness Trust Estate and volunteers from Transition Towns Brixton. They were held once a month on a Sunday, with the occasional evening or mid-week day. They usually had a specific activity facilitated by urban agriculture and permaculture specialists.
Summary of activities:
1. Gardening achievements:
â— Create and dug over beds â— Removed perennial weeds and applied mulches as necessary. â— Transferred vegetation and annual weeds to composting area â— Directly sowed hardy crops (potatoes, onions etc.) â— Sowed non-hardy crops in trays (maize, tomatoes, squash etc.) â— Planted out non-hardy crops â— Continued weeding plot regularly â— Planted fruit bushes and trees: apple, apricot, pear, blackcurrant, gooseberry. â— Harvested crops throughout the season (all the above tasks carried out by community volunteers with guidance from trainers)
Notes: A successful partnership was created with local organisation Aardvark Recycling for supply of food waste compost. This compost has helped improve the quality and fertility of the soil.
2. Spring Festival
A full day event with live music and activities for the kids, Food up Front balcony growing workshops, a community planning workshop for the site, local food provided by Reclaim your Food, planting workshops.
3. Permaculture design workshops
Permaculture expert Graham Burnett attended many of the regular work-days, delivering permaculture training workshops in site design and planning and horticulture. We also hosted a weekend Introduction to Permaculture Course on the site.
4. Consultancy with landscape architect
Local landscape architect Gil Doran developed a prototype design for a Childrenâ€™s Edible Bench which would be located on the Guinness Trust allotment site in the play area. This feature was aimed at encouraging children to think about the links between food and growing by incorporating mint plants into a recreational bench. The prototype was not developed but provides scope for future use.
5. Food Up Front balcony growing workshops.
Local organisation Food up Front held a session on food growing on balconies with residents of the Guinness Trust Estate. The Food up Front initiative provides basic equipment of soil, seeds and container for start-up of food growing on balconies. It then recruits street representatives to share this knowledge in their community and to encourage other people to grow food on balconies and window sills. Ten residents were involved from the Guinness Trust Estate.
Objectives: Stimulate a process of community building and action The ABUNDANCE project pilot phase culminated in the organisation of two events to consolidate its work. The overall aim of these events was to bring together local stakeholders and members of the community interested or involved in food growing in Brixton and in the promotion of urban agriculture amongst the wider Brixton community. In particular, they were about raising awareness of the need for viable ways to bring locally grown food into low-income communities, of increasing and improving food growing skills within the community, of developing tools and methods to utilise previously uncultivated green space for small scale organic food growing and of providing the opportunity for local food businesses and social enterprises to develop and thrive within the South London area. Event 1: Participation in the Great Unleashing of Transition Towns Brixton. This event was attended by over 300 people. It was a vital step in connecting ABUNDANCE with the wider Brixton community and has fed directly into the creation of a Transition Towns food group of which ABUNDANCE will be a defining aspect. Networking event at Guinness Trust Estate brought together Brixton residents, estate managers and food growing experts. There was a tour of the Guinness Trust allotment, presentation on Blenheim Gardens Estate food growing plans and facilitated discussion on ways for residents and housing estate managers to work together for future food growing activity. Project implementation overall Summarise any problems or issues that arose and how you handled them. Please reflect on your experience and summarise what you learned, and lessons you like to would pass on to the programme.
It is recommended that a needs assessment and community consultation be carried out at the inception of similar future projects. By making contact with key individuals and organisations in the local area and scoping out local knowledge, the needs assessment would enable the project to successfully establish partnerships and stakeholders that could support the viability of the project. Working in partnership with local organisations at the outset such as composting schemes, schools, wood suppliers, PCT, other growing projects, would facilitate tool sharing, gardening expertise, seed swopping, events, community activities etc. By consulting with the estate residents at an early stage of the project, the buy-in of the community would be more easily achieved and a work-plan developed in line with the expectations of local residents.
Growing Plan: it is recommended that projects of this nature begin with a sound work programme and growing plan that can be used and followed by participants on the project. Maintaining a gardening diary as a record of evidence throughout the project would be a useful record and would assist with long term sustainability.
Some of the challenges we experienced arose from the specific history of the site and would not generally apply. Other learning is more widely applicable.
Specific to the site: â€¢ The site had been â€˜farmedâ€™ successfully in the past by 3 older Caribbean gentlemen, two of whom had died causing much of the site to revert to weeds. The perception was that it belonged to them. â€¢ We lost our resident worker who had pledged 20 days at an early stage of the programme. She had been very involved in saving the estate from a proposed regeneration project by the Guinness Trust. So the atmosphere around community organisation had a history of negativity. â€¢ So, despite leafleting and posters; residents turnout was very poor. (we should have addressed this with more door to door knocking but lacked resources). â€¢ We hoped to involve the community in designing what they wanted out of the project but the poor turnout meant that design decisions kept being postponed. Were we a community growing project, an estate allotment project, an urban farmâ€¦? â€¢ We spent a long time working on the details and possibilities of the mapping project. â€¢ We underestimated the work needed to deal with the pernennial weeds which grew faster than we could control them with the forces weâ€™d mobilised at the height of the season.
General. â€¢ Get community buy in at the outset. Be a resident not a blow-in, no matter how well meaning â€¢ Get early wins and do the achievable. Better a small thing that looks like a success than a more ambitious project that struggles. People keen to be part of a success. â€¢ Get locally specific expertise. How do we do urban food growing.
ABUNDANCE specific. â€¢ Failure to have control of funding at an early stage prevented us getting enough resources early on. â€¢ Knowledge transfer from UCL of limited use. Not really helping us access real practical knowledge that we know exists about growing in London. The Guidelines produced by UCL are not fully realised and only really a modification of the work we originated in Brixton. The information from the Global South consists of an as yet untranslated glossary.
Outputs and Results Explain the end result of the project work in an objective way. This might include some findings, alongside knowledge transfer/exchange. Describe tangible outputs such as software or a toolkit and avoid listing your deliverables.
Brixton Green Map: Transition Towns Brixton has created a Brixton Green Map on Google Maps. The local community have begun to make additions to this tool by adding in information such as guerrilla gardening and fruit and nut trees in public spaces. See links on the food page at http://www.projectdirt.com/group/ttbfood/forum/topics/fruit-and-nut-tree-map-green. Information from community mapping of cultivable space will eventually be included on this map. Talks have begun with the London Community Map to create a Brixton Green Map on their portal.
Database of Urban Agriculturalists, stakeholders and policy-makers: Now added to the Transition Towns Brixton Food Group membership database: numbering some 240 people.
The plot itself (available for inspection by evaluators)
Guidelines for community mapping of land for Urban Agriculture
The publication of this resource will help communities to map their own areas. It will help them look at their habitual surroundings with new eyes and encounter new possibilities, as well as yield information that can be useful to those communities in transforming the areas identified. The guide is particularly aimed at mapping of green space in housing estates, and is therefore for small areas of up to around 2 acres (5000 square meters).
Summary of Guide:
- Accessibility of the land eg. Who owns it, physical constraints, planning regulations. – Suitability of the land for urban farming eg. Soil qualities, water availability. – Current & past uses of the land: this is the social aspect eg.history, local communities. – Feasibility (or adequacy) for urban farming eg. Location in relation to households, security of site. Section 2:
- What to do before visiting the site – The visit and the collection of information – The community assessment once the visit is over.
Community Mapping Questionnaire â€“ in continuing development A large scale map of the Tulse Hill Estate for use in mapping for growing on the estate.
Outcomes, key impacts â€“ the real value of the project 1) List your project outcomes and how they impact on building sustainable communities.
Outcome: Stimulate a process of community knowledge-building and action.
Of all the achievements of the ABUNDANCE project â€“ this is the area in which arguably it has achieved its greatest success and its deepest legacy. The name ABUNDANCE has become synonymous with food growing in Brixton and beyond, and the work of ABUNDANCE has stimulated curiosity and a thirst for knowledge on community mobilization into food growing. It has allowed an increasingly bold network of people across all walks of life and from both the public, private and community sectors, to associate with each other under the ABUNDANCE â€˜umbrellaâ€™, and dovetails in very neatly with the development of the emerging Transition Towns Brixton food group.,
â€¢ Database of individuals and organisations with a stake in urban food growing in Brixton and beyond. The project has involved many volunteers and as such, acts as a catalyst for this community-forming process by promoting networks. Mobilising at the harvest festival of ABUNDANCE which took place at the Great Unleashing of Transition Towns Brixton is an example of this process. This network will form the basis for a Transition Town Brixton Food Group. In addition, the links with UCL make for a robust and informed network of people who can draw on the full range of local knowledge, academic expertise and practical knowledge.
â€¢ The Capital Growth project, managed by Sustain and funded by the LDA, aims to create 2012 new growing spaces by 2012. The ABUNDANCE project put forward two projects which it had been facilitating (through community mapping and general support), namely Blenheim Gardens and Tulse Hill Estate. These two projects were consequently taken on by Capital Growth, and Blenheim Gardens became the no. 1 flagship space at the media launch of the Capital Growth project. Bonnie Hewson, the key resident behind developments at Blenheim Gardens attended the media launch and met Rosie Boycott (the Mayorâ€™s food tsar) and Boris himself.
â€¢ Support of Louise Jordan, a resident at the Guinness Trust Estate, who has become increasingly involved in the management and coordination of the demonstration allotment site. Louise has built her confidence and abilities throughout the ABUNDANCE project phase. She featured on BBC Radio LONDON, speaking live about her experiences of growing food and being part of the ABUINDANCE project. Louise also took part in the permaculture training course. The impact is evident in Louiseâ€™s planning for the next growing season on the allotment, and her involvement with other groups who can support her in doing this, such as Blenheim Gardens Estate and Transition Towns Brixton.
â€¢ ABUNDANCE is part of an incipient database-driven web-based green map of Brixton, mapping a range of ecological initiatives, many of them food related. In this way, ABUNDANCE is at the cutting edge of new information technology developments bringing social innovation to the widest possible audience in a participatory manner. New platforms such as Google maps have enabled Transition Towns Brixton Food Group to begin a green map of the Brixton area, beginning with fruit and nut trees and guerrilla gardens. Such initiatives as they come about are a sign that imagination is leading technology to integrate and complement a range of existing initiatives such as e-groups and blogs.
â€¢ Outcome of final events: These final events have been crucial in consolidating the work and public perception of ABUNDANCE. Outputs from the festival: â€¢ A network of contacts committed to forming a Brixton Food Group. â€¢ A resource base available to other start-up projects arising out of pooled knowledge at the Urban Growing Networking Meeting (with local lunch), held on Monday 24th November including other growing projects in London and nationally, and a section on issues and solutions. â€¢ Relationship established with resident from Blenheim Gardens in Brixton interested in setting up food growing on her estate. â€¢ Collaboration between Blenheim Gardens and Tulse Hill on a community mapping survey the following week. â€¢ The development of a user friendly community mapping survey toolkit. â€¢ Partnership established with Transition Towns Brixton Waste & Composting Group.
Outcome: Convince Local Authorities & Housing Associations that they should be just as imaginative as Guinness Trust Housing Association in welcoming community UA projects into their own housing estates.
â€¢ The Guinness Trust pilot allotment site provides the opportunity for other housing associations in Brixton to consider similar work. â€¢ TTBrixton has been responsible for bringing the idea of food growing to the fore in Lambethâ€™s thinking. In their recent Credit Crunch Taskforce Report recommendation 14 says â€œThe council should promote and expand food growing groups and networks across the borough.â€ â€¢ A ward councilor attended the Networking Meeting and has offered seed funding for a growing project on neighbouring Loughborough Estate. Duncan Law has attended a meeting at the Loughborough Estate with residents, estate managers and the ward councilor. â€¢ Delegates from Metropolitan Housing Trust Estates attended the Networking Meeting. â€¢ Tulse Hill AGM â€“ Sarah Cannon attended several meetings of the Tulse Hill residents association and AGM, developing relationship between key growers and the ABUNDANCE project, and introducing Tulse Hill grower Vinnie Oâ€™Connor to the Capital Growth project. www.capitalgrowth.org. Sarah invited Capital Growth project manager Seb Mayfield (of Food up Front), to attend the AGM, resulting in the housing estate manager who had been resistant to allowing the growing project to go ahead, agreeing to support it. An agreement was achieved during the meeting to allow the growers a year to make the project successful, after which time the lawn would be returned to its current condition if the growing project was no longer being managed. (although it was felt this was highly unlikely by all present!). This negotiation between residents and housing manager set a precedent which will help other residents and its success was facilitated by the involvement of ABUNDANCE and Capital Growth.
Outcome: Contribute to a radical reappraisal of the future of cities in an era of adaptation to the need for low-throughput living.
â€¢ By networking and liaising with such a wide range of stakeholders from across the academic and local communities, ABUNDANCE has vitally contributed towards the message of our times that urban space may always be considered as potentially productive space, in agricultural terms.
Outcome: Provide a live example of transition towards a low energy future.
â€¢ The allotment site at Guinness Trust has raised the profile of the project and continues to be of interest for members of the academic and local community to visit. BBC Radio London and a European film maker are examples of some of the creative media interest, whilst local organisations such as Bankside Open Spaces Trust are keen to visit and to involve themselves in a process of knowledge-sharing.
â€¢ A lot of interest has been shown in the community mapping guidelines and toolkit. ABUNDANCE hopes to continue to develop the guide as a useful and adaptable community resource. A partnership has been formed with Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST), and as a result of the mapping session in Tulse Hill an exchange visit will be organised between food growing residents at Brookwood Housing and residents of Brixton housing associations such as Guinness Trust, Tulse Hill and Blenheim Gardens.
â€¢ The project complements and inputs into other London-wide initiatives, such as London Foodlink, which network ecologically-responsible business initiatives, and link local production and consumption of food and Capital Growth â€“ an initiative to bring 2012 new food growing spaces to London by 2012.
2) Identify the beneficiaries of your project, who, how and why they are benefiting (or will benefit).
â€¢ Residents on the Guinness Trust Estate â€¢ Volunteers of the Transition Town Brixton
3) Describe how the project has been exported already in education and training courses or other KT activity. Consider also; modules, case studies, e-learning and training package material. Give the dates of availability or approximate dates and say who did it or will do it.
â€¢ Urban Agriculture Module at the DPU at UCL â€¢ Permaculture Introductory Weekend Course in June 2008.
4) Has your project had an impact in policy or regulation? If so, please describe how and be specific about the policies targeted. Where is your project influencing existing policy and is there potential for this project to influence future policy development?
â€¢ See recommendation in Lambethâ€™s Credit Crunch Taskforce cited ablve. â€¢ Food growing built into the FUTURE BRIXTON regeneration masterplan by the intervention of Transition Town Brixton and the ABUNDANCE volunteers.
But still far to goâ€¦Lambethâ€™s Housing Policy contains no mention of food or growing! 5) Describe the future exporting activity that will increase the impact of the project (e.g. courses that have yet to start, continuing KT activity, ongoing approaches to policy review). Consider also modules, case studies, e-learning and training package material and give likely dates of availability and who will be doing it.
6) Urban Agriculture Module at the DPU at UCL 7) Permaculture Introductory Weekend Course in March 2009).
8) Consider the future implications of your work, how and when others can build on it.
ABUNDANCE leaves a legacy to be built on by the grass-roots movement within Transition Towns Brixton (TTB). ABUNDANCE has involved and garnered the support of a range of local stakeholders and partners. The Great Unleashing of TTB created the opportunity for the mapping and growing elements of the project to be used and led on by volunteers. There has also been much interest from other environmental and community based organisations who want to map cultivable space in their own areas, and much potential therefore for ABUNDANCE to continue to support this process. With the start of the DPU Urban Agriculture module, there is exceptional scope for international students to bring their learning and expertise to new projects that emerge as a result of ABUNDANCE interventions.
9) How could your projectâ€™s impact be measured in 12 months time? Who is taking your project or its outputs forward?
â€¢ Website of Transition Towns Brixton â€“ members joined, local groups formed. â€¢ ABUNDANCE urban agriculture network membership. â€¢ Continuation of the ABUNDANCE community allotment site at the Guinness Trust, with gardening committee and self-management achieved. â€¢ Proliferation of other similar sites on other Brixton housing estates, in particular the success of those stimulated through the existence of ABUNDANCE, namely Blenheim Gardens and Tulse Hill estates. 10) Have offline collaborations or business associations developed which are not directly connected to your project but have arisen because of it? Give examples if possible. â€¢ Friends of Brixton Market â€¢ Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming â€¢ Transition Towns Tooting â€¢ Capital Growth www.capitalgrowth..org
Project Evaluation Plan: Sustainable Development Please report on your projectâ€™s progress against plan, and note any evaluation results not reported previously. Objective Progress and supporting information (how objective met) 1. Living within environmental limits:
2. Ensuring a strong healthy and just society:
3. Achieving a sustainable economy:
4. Promoting Good Governance:
5. Using Sound Science:
Project Evaluation Plan: Knowledge Transfer Please report on your projectâ€™s progress against plan, and note any evaluation results not reported previously. Objective Progress and supporting information (how objective met) 6. Knowledge transfer/exchange:
Marketing / Promotion â€“ Outreach Communications
- Whilst we have collected together quite a bit of information on several projects, we welcome your help in this section.
Quotes from project partners regarding the value (or learning if constructive) of their involvement and what this means to their mission
We have lots of quotes from lots of projects but if there are particular quotes that you feel relevant please cite them here.
Storyboards. Can you write a short story /anecdote citing successes/learning that flowed from your project â€“ or anything interesting?
(write as many as you like â€“ they will all appear on the website and if more than one â€“ do indicate which represents the â€˜flagshipâ€™ story for this project)
Anecdote from Louise Jordan, key grower at the Guinness Trust allotments.
Difficulties Total lack of any money, at all. Given that I think we got a lot done in the year but to do more we would really have needed cash.
General suspicion present amongst those living on the estate. It really was noticeable how many people came up to me when I was working on my own. There are a couple of reasons for this I think.
a) The general different background, but frankly I reckon this isn’t as much as you might think. b) Though I’m willing to get involved with other people living on the estate, I’m held back by my doubts as whether they’ll be decent human beings!! Will I be stuck having to talk to some nasty person who lives on my doorstep? I don’t think I’m alone in this. Itâ€™s a general thing. It does fade with time however.
Things I would do differently. 1) Set up a clear committee with a clear membership. 2) Spend cash 3) Set up a sign! 4) Have regular set times for the actual gardening of any communal areas. You know, every Sunday 10 – 1 kind of thing. I’d also institute that from the very beginning. And advertise them on your sign. 5) I think for communal gardening you really need to go one of 2 ways – either ‘you garden that bit here” or “we all do it together but to a plan agreed and set up in advance. I think this second bit would have really increased the productivity. As it was, we grew potatoes where potatoes were already grown, and we had blank areas going to waste in the summer months. 6) Decide what to do with produce in advance. On Guinness trust we never really did. I think the general idea might have been to give it all to people involved on the estate but as that was only really me, even with my best efforts at leaping out at passers-by waving rocket, quite a bit actually went uneaten. 7) Record how much we produced. 8) set up a sign looking onto the railway tracks – it’s a shame to let a capitive audience of thousands get away! 9) Buy a wheelbarrow, a hosepipe, raised beds, a tool hut thing of some variety, a noticeboard, put up another bean row thingumy at the the other end of the allotment.
Things I think went well – 1) I’ve made new friends on the estate. I’ve been round to someone’s house (see above for the big step that is!). I get on really well with Curtis now and he’s not some one I would really get to talk to much otherwise. I’ve really enjoyed learning things from him and making him shake his head about not using slug pellets. There are large groups of small children who lounge about on the estate and in the past they’ve made me uncomfortable and yelled things. Now they don’t – I’ve spent a lot of time with most of them. About 10 children on the estate have come down, of the their own volition, ‘to help with digging’. At one point I had a patrol of kids who take up arms if someone kicked a football on the allotment. “Don’t you kick that football on to the allotment!!” I didn’t ask them to do this. They were also very sweet with their “don’t walk on the raised beds!” “I saw you! You walked on the raised bed”
2) We’ve actually grown a lot of food. I think it’s got to be roughly about 1 Cabbage 1 kilo of loose-leaf cabbage (yet MORE to come – another kilo?) 15 kilos of potatoes 8 heads of corn 10 baby corn 1 – 2 kilo of rocket. Given they sell this in 50g bags in tescos… 3 kilos of tomatoes. 50g peas 500g broad beans 1kg French beans 4 kilos of onions. I, in household of 5, did not buy any red onions for about 3 months this year. 6 leeks Things still growing – Lettuce, onions, garlic, radishes, leeks, cabbage, other cabbage, winter purslane, These are my personal estimates but I’ve erred on the side of caution and I sure these are accurate.
3) I’m really enthusiastic about growing food now – before I wasn’t so much. I ‘ve grown SO SO many things for the first time – potatoes (when those first potatoes came popping out the ground it was the most marvellous thing ever! Digging up potatoes is now my favourite task ever!) Cabbage, onions, leeks. I never knew these things would grow so easily! I’ve learnt a lot from other people involved in abundance, I have great and glorious plans for things I’m going to grow next year. Blue potatoes! 5ft peas!! So much lettuce I never have to eat another salad bag again!!
One other thing – I think the best thing we could have done is make it clear from the start as to quite how people on the estate could have got invloved. A couple of people came up up to me and said – how do I grow things here then? I sort of had nothing ot say to them.
Material. List the output material from your project and explain how it can be obtained â€“ and where it will become available.
(this may be photos, videos, reports, DVDs, or references to interactive websites etc. â€“ please â€˜signpostâ€™ from where it can be obtained. In the case of training services/packages â€“ please indicate who the delivery agent is and contact details.
ABUNDANCE leaflet: Available from Robert Biel, DPU, UCL.
Growing Round the Houses This briefing on food production on housing estates is a joint initiative between Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming, and the Womenâ€™s Environmental Network. ABUNDANCE features as a working model of food growing in social housing. This document is available to download at the Sustain website: www.sustainweb.org
Guidelines for Mapping Manual This is a community resource with instructions and guidelines for mapping of cultivable space in urban residential areas. It is available from Robert Biel at DPU, UCL.
Draft Mapping Survey Toolkit A mapping toolkit for use by communities in conducting a survey of cultivable space. Available from Robert Biel at DPU, UCL.
Video on ABUNDANCE & Urban Agriculture Robert Biel, ABUNDANCE Director, talks about the background to the project and the wider environmental and political context of the food crisis. This video was shot by UrbanBuzz publicity officer Julianna Oâ€™Rourke. It is available on the YouTube. http://uk.youtube.com/uclurban
ABUNDANCE Case Study This case study is in development and a work in progress. It is available to those in the Brixton area who wish to read the learning so far and/or contribute to the case study if they have been involved in the project. Please contact Sarah Cannon or Duncan Law.
ABUNDANCE on BBC Radio London ABUNDANCE featured live on BBC Radio London Breakfast Show on Thursday 17th July. Duncan Law introduced the project in the early slot at 7.20am, this was followed by a later slot at 8.20pm, in which resident Louise Jordan talked about her experience of participating in the project.
Press / Trade / Local publicity/press coverage achieved and planned. List key press cuttings, giving urls where possible, and any impact arising from this exposure
ABUNDANCE featured live on BBC Radio London Breakfast Show on Thursday 17th July. Duncan Law introduced the project in the early slot at 7.20am, This was followed by a later slot at 8.20pm, in which resident Louise Jordan talked about her experience of participating in the project.
UrbanBuzz Showcase 6th Oct-15th Nov. Were there outcomes from your presence there â€“ either passively or through events you hosted?
Can you identify any outcomes already or will these come later?
Conclusions Briefly summarise any conclusions that can be drawn from the project.
ABUNDANCE has been, and continues to be about collaboration and the creation of living, dynamic, interactive communities that can take ownership of their environment and help to shape an abundant, low-energy future. This report documents the story of ABUNDANCE so far. The ambitious vision that is ABUNDANCE is above all the creation of an experiment â€“ in growing food, pushing boundaries, asking questions, and building new community led approaches to urban agriculture. ABUNDANCE is not about creating solutions for solutions sake.
ABUNDANCE is about discovery of new territory – for the academic, for the local resident, for the gardener, for the policy-maker, for the young person, for the activist. It is about making mistakes and asking why, learning from them, posing new questions, and setting the context for what at first may seem impossible. Thanks for the courage to take this path are due to the innovation of the UrbanBuzz fund in encouraging knowledge sharing, to the creative passion of the Brixton Transition Towns movement and to the commitment of the DPU. This report is the story of the pilot phase of ABUNDANCE and what we have learnt along the way. It is above all about a beginning.
Recommendations List any specific recommendations for the teaching, learning, or research communities. Please list any further barriers to building sustainable communities, whose removal would require new/more research. (The research questions raised here may influence future funding agendas and so your views on what research mechanisms are required should be given. â€˜Learningâ€™ from failures/difficulties for the benefits of others would be helpful too).
Appendices (optional) Include any appendices that readers will find helpful to understand the project.
Appendix 1: LDA Small Grants Scheme Success Letter
Appendix 2: Design Notes from Permaculture Workshop
Appendix 3: Permaculture Design Workshop Poster
Appendix 4: Guinness Trust Allotments Soil Analysis
Appendix 5: Edible Bench Design
Appendix 6: Photos of Workday 1
Appendix 7: Photo of Plot design Permaculture Workshop
Appendix 8: Photo of seed sowing
Appendix 9: Photo of summer workday
Appendix 10: Photo of mid-summer Workday
Appendix 11: Photo of site design: Permaculture Workshop1
Appendix 12: Photo of site design: Permaculture Workshop2
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