City harvest workshop at climate camp

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A summary of the workshop "City Harvests- eat away at those food miles" at the camp for climate action.

city harvest mindmap

mindmap: some advantages of growing your own food

The City Harvest workshop was an opportunity to share experiences of urban gardening and food production. A central idea is the importance of growing one's own food for sustainability, as well as other benefits like having a cheap fresh food supply, increasing biodiversity, obtaining (genetically unmodified) seeds and improved wellbeing from gardening.

Land access, occupying and using existing land were key concepts discussed. In London there are 1.4 million households with unused gardens and 1388 hectares of derelict land.

Numerous (more or less) practical ideas were discussed and illustrations shown, for example the usefulness of container growing, uses of space, mulching, water butts, the importance of community,city farms, allotments, alt energy water pumps, counter- water ban tips, mobile shopping trolley gardens and more!

Some issues experienced were shared, like beginner's insecurities, conflicts between organic / nonorganic methods in the same space, suspicion from neighbours when occupying land (although this can become positive with increasing awareness) and problems with water supplies.

An issue especially relevant in urban settings is the quality of soil, specifically problems of contamination. There was a sharing of ideas for solutions (e.g. rescue crops and composting) and contacts made to develop and build knowledge in the future.
Participants in the workshops also spoke about projects they were involved with, such as Birley Fields in Manchester (www.fobf.org.uk); the Create Garden in Glasgow and the LARC rooftop garden in London (www.londonarc.org).

Some upcoming events and projects:
London - (Co)Mutiny Garden - see www.risingtide.org.uk | www.londonarc.org

Seed saving skill share
London - 8th October 2006 - LARC 62 Fieldgate St E1
Dorset- 1st October 2006 - Fivepenny Farm, Wootton Fitzpaine

"Producing our own food is the biggest thing we can do to save ourselves"

(There was also a permaculture workshop at the camp, which I thought to be very applicable to urban life and gardening.)