We're grassroots Heathrow residents proving that communities less dependent on oil can be more resilient, stronger and happier. We take direct action on climate change and shrinking supplies of cheap energy by transitioning to a post-oil, community-led future for the Heathrow villages.

Harlington orchard clear up

Posted: March 27th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

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On the 27th of March 2016 volunteers from Grow Heathrow helped an abandoned orchard to get back on its feet.

The orchard is situated in Harlington. It seems to have been neglected for many years.

All the trees are almost completely smothered in ivy and huge amounts of rubbish have been left there.

Lots of this rubbish has now been left by the road for the council to collect.

The ivy was chopped near the base of some trees.

This will gradually die and give the trees a chance to become productive and healthy again.

If anyone wants to get involved in helping to sort out this orchard then come to Grow Heathrow and get involved.

There is still a lot of rubbish to clear. There is also lots of potential growing space beneath the trees.

Hopefully this can become a beautiful bountiful resource, providing fresh healthy food to the local community once again. Rather than a fly tipping site.


Stag Beetles at Grow Heathrow

Posted: March 27th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

 

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Grow Heathrow has been found to be home to a huge number of stag beetles (lucanus cervus) living in rotting woodchip around the site. These are the largest beetles in England and are seriously threatened on a global scale. South-east England is the most common place to find them in the country. Stag beetle numbers have had a decline in recent years because of loss of habitat. They live as larvae in rotting wood for 5-7 years and then become beetles for a few months while they breed.

 

On our site there are loads of larvae living in piles of rotting woodchip around site. Most of the larvae have been found living in the driveway, where hundreds of loads of woodchip have been dropped of by tree surgeons over the years. Most of this woodchip is well rotted now and is great for putting on growing beds as mulch. We sieve the woodchip first to remove any un-rotted chips, and re-home any stag beetle larvae we find.

Adding rotted woodchips to soil has many benefits, some of which include:

  • Encouraging worms which dig through the soil and aerate it.

  • Reducing competition from weeds, allowing more nutrients and water for plants you are growing.

  • Adding extra nutrients to the soil.

  • Increasing the soil buffering capacity, which means plants can tolerate a bigger variety of acidity levels in soil.

  • Improving the soil structure.

  • Allowing conditions for mycorrhizal fungi to grow, if no-dig gardening is practiced, which have a huge list of benefits (you can read about here: http://mycorrhizas.info/roles.html).

  • Protecting the soil from weathering from the elements.

 

Woodchip and logs are easy to come by for free, just ring up your local tree surgeons. If you have a garden please leave some piles of un-treated wood to rot down for stag beetles, the larvae prefer it if they can stay in one location while they grow so try not to move logs around. If you find larvae while digging up rotted woodchip for mulch then just bury them again and they should survive.

At the side of the driveway we have made a home for stag beetles which we find when digging in the woodchip, it’s just a pile of rotting wood and woodchip with the larvae buried inside.

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Herbal Workshop: Spring Tonic Vinegar Making, To The Roots!

Posted: March 2nd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Action, Cool Projects, Education, Events, Foraging, Gardening Club, Growing Group | No Comments »

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Saturday 5th March from 2pm

As part of Grow Heathrow’s fantastical 6th Birthday celebrations, join us on Saturday for an informative herb walk around the site with community herbalist Rasheeqa Ahmad and some Spring vinegar making, bring a jar! We will be learning about and harvesting mineral rich herbs such as nettles, cleavers, dandelion and burdock roots..


2 hour Hip-Hop Garden workshop on Saturday with KMT

Posted: February 29th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

The inspirational KMT Freedom Teacher, artist and co-founder of the May Project Gardens is joining us to deliver a 2 hour Hip-Hop Garden workshop on Saturday afternoon!

http://www.3kmt.co.uk/ http://mayprojectgardens5.wix.com/may-project-gardens


Singing circle at dusk on Saturday

Posted: February 29th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

wood engraving by Claire Leighton, courtesy of the artist's estate

Throughout history, the land and people’s relation to it has inspired songs about LAND RIGHTS, FOOD AND GROWING, ENCLOSURES, POACHING, RAMBLING, LOSS, EMIGRATION and HOMECOMING.

At dusk on Saturday, Robin Grey and Naomi Wilkins from ‘Three Acres and a Cow’ will be hosting an informal SINGING CIRCLE. Bring songs to share, or come and listen.

http://threeacresandacow.co.uk/  http://www.robingrey.com/


Grow Heathrow is Hibernating this February

Posted: January 26th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

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Winter is often seen as a time for rest and reflection. For many mammals it’s a time to make a nice warm den and hibernate for a few months, getting ready for the year ahead.

At Grow Heathrow, we’re often lured in to the traps of modern life – always doing, doing, doing and doing some more. This can all get a bit much and lead to burn out.

So, in an attempt to counter this, we’ve decided we’re going to hibernate for the month of February. This means we won’t be accepting any new volunteers for this period, in order to allow us to reflect on the past year, build the relationships within the already existing group and have a bit of a rest.

You’re still more than welcome, however, to visit us during the day, come to our workshops and events, and make suggestions for workshops for the coming months.

Also, in the first week of March – we’d love you to come and stay in order to help us get ready for our 6th Birthday celebrations!


Grow Heathrow’s 6th Birthday – 4-6th March

Posted: January 17th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

 

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On March 1st 2010, Transition Heathrow members swooped on an abandoned market garden site in Sipson; one of the villages to be completely tarmacked to make way for a third runway at Heathrow.
 
6 years later, and Grow Heathrow is still here.
 
This weekend we’re celebrating this hub of social activity and resistance against Heathrow’s 3rd runway, and the hundreds of you who have made this happen over 6 years.
 
Come and celebrate with us!
 
Friday 4th March
 
3 – 5pm: The Beauty is in the Struggle: Come along to the Sipson mural. Add your hand prints to the many celebrating the beauty that lies in the struggle of Sipson Village. Outside the Zayani restaurant UB7 0HU.
 
Open Mic Night: Join us in the evening for vegan cuisine and music. Bring your instruments!
 
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Saturday 5th March
 
A day of talks, cakes, singing, dancing and workshops from 11:00.
 
Strawbale House
 
11 – 1pm: Generative creative writing workshop with Aimee
 
1 – 2pm: Automatic drawing workshop with Andy
 
2 – 3pm: Laughter Yoga with Paul
 
3 – 5pm:  The inspirational KMT Freedom Teacher, artist and co-founder of the May Project Gardens is joining us to deliver a 2 hour Hip-Hop Garden workshop.

 
Alternative Space
 
2 – 3pm: “Heathrow and the Prostitute State” by Donnachadh McCarthy. How Britain’s democracy has been bought by corporate lobbyists and the 1%.
 
3 – 5pm: Interactive panel discussion linking global north and global south activism, with speakers focusing on fracking, mining, aviation, and other struggles.

 
Office
 
2 – 3:30 pm: Internet Security: Resisting the Panopticon, with Simon
 
3:30 – 5 pm: Join Matt for a workshop on What is Class Struggle?
 
 
In the Open
 
Home is where the Art is: Get creative throughout the day with HARTS.
 
Cob Oven pizzas.
 
2pm – Herbal Medicine workshop: making mineral root vinegar – from Doc Root, horseradish, burdock, dandelion and anything else we find!
 
5 – 6:30pm: Cake judging competition and SPEECHES! Start Baking!
 
Dusk: Join Robin Grey and Naomi Wilkins from ‘Three Acres and a Cow’ for an informal SINGERS’ CIRCLE, drawing on a people’s history of land rights, enclosures, loss and homecoming. Bring songs to share, sing, or come and listen.
 
Music
 
The late night line-up includes KMT with friends, a return of The Lagan and DJs.
 
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Sunday 6th March
 
Noon: Trees for Transformation - Come and help plant trees around the Heathrow villages. Meet at 12pm at Grow Heathrow to get tools and go to the sites.
 
1:30pm - Octopus Alchemy will be hosting a workshop which brings together radical politics and sauerkraut. Bring a jar or two!
 
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Bring a sleeping bag, head torch and tent if you’re staying overnight. There is limited guest accommodation, but plenty of space for pitching tents.

Come down this week to help us prepare. There will be places to stay, good food and company and skills learnt in return.

This link has details on how to get here – http://www.transitionheathrow.com/directions/
 
Our address is Grow Heathrow, Vineries Close, Sipson, West Drayton, UB7 0JH.

Ring for.more info on 07541579798.
 
NONE OF THE ABOVE WILL HAPPEN ON TIME!

 


Crowdfunding Campaign: Help upgrade Grow Heathrow’s Energy System

Posted: January 16th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

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At Grow Heathrow we’re totally off grid for electricity, we get all our energy from wind and solar.

Our energy system was designed and built a few years ago, when the project was much smaller. As our community project continues to grow, we need to expand our enegry systems to allow us to keep doing the work we’re doing.

We’ve got a crowdfunding campaign to allow this to happen and we’d love your support!

If you can’t afford to donate – it’s still a big help to share the link to spread the word.

Also, we always need non-financial support. Right now we could really use:

  • wooden pallets for building and burning

  • forks and spoons

  • glass jam jars

  • seeds

Thanks for all the support!

Love Grow Heathrow x


Lewdown Holdings Planning Application refused again – Thanks!

Posted: December 20th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

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A while ago we asked you all to object to a planning application for developing most of the land Grow Heathrow is on.

THANKYOU to everyone who supported us in getting this planning application refused.

At least 72 objections were made to this proposal. This is greenbelt land and this is at least the 3rd time the land owners have had their development plans refused.

The proposed development was refused on 14/12/2015.

Details of the application can be found here: http://w10.hillingdon.gov.uk/OcellaWeb/planningDetails?reference=67666%2FAPP%2F2015%2F2413&from=planningSearch

The reasons for refusal included:

  • Loss of green belt land with no very special circumstances.
  • Detriment of ecological value and air quality, noise issues.
  • Residential development of this land would be contrary to local, London Plan and national policy.
  • Failure by the owners to provide contributions towards improvement of off-site facilities needed due to increased demands caused by the development.
  • Failed to show how the development would comply with energy/ sustainable design policies.
  • Failed to legally show that affordable housing would be provided.

Come celebrate the Winter Solstice with us tomorrow night (Monday)! Music, Fire and Food!


Hempcrete insulation workshop (winter work week)

Posted: December 15th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Hempcrete workshop

For 4 days in November Grow Heathrow had a much appreciated boost of energy, with volunteers coming from around the country to muck in. Walls of the new shower block were built and other walls were insulated with hempcrete, stoves were also made. Fun was had. We used hempcrete, which is an amazing insulating building material which makes good use of natural materials which should be easy to get hold of: if not then you need to make friends with a hemp farmer.

Hempcrete is breathable, damp-free, insulating, thermal mass, and sequesters carbon – incase CO2 levels are on your mind. It is light-weight, free from toxic synthetic chemicals and long lived – even been discovered in a 6th century French construction. Our method of making hempcrete involves only hemp and clay. Most of the UK is abundant in clay, especially London: why not make a wildlife pond or a compost toilet and dig out the clay in the process? The clay is mixed with water to until it makes a texture a bit like yoghurt, and any rocks are discarded. The stalks of the hemp plant are separated into the inner woody material – known as shiv – and the outer fibres by rubbing against a metal grid. For hempcrete, it is the shiv which is used. At Grow Heathrow we use a bathtub and a metal grid from a bunk bed, all reclaimed materials of course. The two ingredients are mixed together by hand, in the bath and are then packed down into the walls of your chosen building with a bit of wood. No money is needed, or specialist equipment, just a bit of patience. Usually lime is used in place of clay, but we use what we have.

Hemp is probably the most useful plant in the world, with the potential to make into clothes, medicine, food, drink, houses, cars, fuel, paper and plastic.  This means an end to mass deforestation, reducing global pollution and radiation, even a cure for many health problems. The seeds are rich in protein, omega 3, fibre and amino acids. It also therefore could make many profitable and powerful industries entirely unnecessary. Growing hemp is not illegal in the UK if you use a license, and it will stabilise and detoxify your soil. It can be grown easily with no pesticides, or fertilisers. Please check out this crowd-funding campaign with our good friend Joe who was nice enough to donate lots of bales of hemp to us! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=My0Yrduk9Qw

This incredible plant has been demonised and illegalised due to its close relation to cannabis but varieties of these plants have been used as a medicine for at least 5000 years. A man from Canada has spent years researching the medicinal use of hemp oil; this link is a video he made of his story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmYNLNF7NBw (Run from the Cure).

Thanks to everyone who came to help out and learn natural building techniques with us!

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