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.

No New Runways: events coming up

Posted: August 9th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: | No Comments »


Saturday, 12th September Bloomsbury Baptist Church, London 2pm. No New Runways: People fighting airport expansion are often branded NIMBYS by those who want more runways but the damage caused by such developments goes beyond the local areas. This event is focused on climate change. I’ve no doubt we will all learn something from this event.  Not just about the impact of aviation on climate change but also about what can be done.  Christine Taylor of SHE is scheduled to open the event with speakers including Dr Alice Bows-Larkin (Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research); Keith Taylor MEP; Brendon Sewill (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign); Leo Murray (A Free Ride); Greenpeace; Asad Rehman (Friends of the Earth).  Details and bookings at http://www.segreens.com/no_new_runways or go to the Facebook page: No New Runways.

Saturday, 19th September A national gathering of groups and individuals will be meeting up at Heathrow Primary School to look at ways to fight Heathrow expansion.  Wherever you live, if you are likely to be impacted by a third runway this is your chance to have a say in how the campaign moves forward. A whole range of topics will be under discussion so there should be chance to ensure your voice is heard on your biggest concerns. The official time is 10am-4.30pm but we understand the organisers are still looking at the best way to incorporate a trip into Harmondsworth, one of the villages that would be destroyed, where an open house event is taking place.  Initial details are below with more to follow.  Please circulate the news of this event widely so that as many people as possible can book a place to take part.

Saturday, 10th October (provisional date) National Rally against a Third Runway is expected to take-place in Parliament Square with big-name speakers. This is one not to be missed.  We will give you more details when we have them.

Sat 5 Sep, 1-5pm: Elderberry vinegar workshop

Posted: July 7th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Foraging | Tags: , , | No Comments »

foraging workshop

Along with steamed hogweed buds (and blackberries), the other favourite foraged edible at Grow Heathrow is elderberry vinegar. Come on Saturday 5 September from 1 till 5 and join us.

As always, we’ll big you up and thank you loads for any/as many clean empty jars as you can bring :). So – elderberries. This widespread, delicious wild food has been one of Britain’s best loved hedgerow treasures for centuries, brewed into a unique smooth, rich and port-like wine with a flavour unmatched by anything on supermarket shelves (see recipe). The tree (sambucus nigra) is easy to identify if you’ve smelled the sweet elderflowers around May and June; they turn into drooping clusters of shiny purplish-black elderberries hanging down from purple stems from mid August till October.

Its best kept secret is definitely elderberry balsamic vinegar. This is fun, quick to make and leaves you with a result  that transforms cheap vinegar into posh balsamic: a bit like Jesus turning water into wine, but more directly useful for climbing the greasy pole of Britain’s entrenched system of class hierarchy.

Strip the berries from the stems using your hands or a fork; compost the stems. Take a litre of British cider vinegar (ie, the perfect amount for a small portion of chips) and add a kilo of elderberries. Chuck them together in a covered stainless steel, glass or enamelled container for a week. Then strain, put the liquid on the hob, let it simmer for ten minutes and bottle. Now order a small portion of chips to go with your litre of vinegar and enjoy. Congratulations: the balsamic vinegar in front of you means you’re going up in the world!

Living in broken rotting greenhouses has its perks. What plant books flatteringly call ‘wasteland species’ may not have the looks but as we like to say here, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. And autumn is coming up, with our Garden of Eden maze of elderberries and blackberries.

You can also check out the Urban Harvest info on eating elderberries.

1-9 Aug: Cycle Edinburgh to London for Palestine

Posted: January 24th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Cool Projects | Tags: , , | No Comments »


Edinburgh to London: step on your bike and stand up for Palestine in tandem with 1,000 other fellow cyclists. Combine the challenge of cycling from Edinburgh to London with fundraising in support of a Palestinian children’s charity.

THE BIG RIDE will follow a stunning route from Edinburgh to London, clocking up an impressive daily mileage. From the Scottish Lowlands and Northumberland we cycle through Yorkshire and then head gradually southwards to London cutting a path through the middle of England.  Following national cycle routes, we avoid the busiest and fastest roads in favour of natural surroundings, satisfyingly challenging distances with stops in some great cities along our capital-to-capital journey.

Event organiser Dermot MacWard describes his vision for the event:

“My friend Musheir El Farra lost 8 members of his family (including 5 children) in the recent war in Gaza. His sister Dr. Mona El-Farra the Vice President of the Red Crescent society for the Gaza Strip and Director of Middle Eastern Children Alliance has asked for help. Mona wants us to help raise awareness of the situation in Palestine and also help the children’s projects she’s involved with in The Gaza Strip.

Consequently we’re planning for 1,000 cyclists to join us in one of the largest mass participation cycling events of its kind in Britain. If you do nothing else this year – dust off your bike, pump up your tyres and oil your chain for a fabulous week of pedalling and help the people of Palestine.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Great seed festival: 11-12 Oct

Posted: September 11th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: | No Comments »

Great seed festival

Autumn at Cranford Park

Posted: September 4th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Residents | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Wheat to War Poster Cranford Front JPEG

This is an exciting month in Cranford Park. 

We are celebrating the world’s biggest coffee morning in one of the smallest gardens (Sunday 14th September, 10am – 12 noon). The event is in the Secret Garden (near the information centre and stables) as part of Macmillan Cancer Support’s ‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’. We would be grateful if you could invite friends, make a cake or help on the day. There is an invitation attached.

On 20-21 September, the Berkeley stables, Secret Garden and St. Dunstan’s Church open their doors as part of London Open House weekend. There is an exhibition in the stables and members of the Friends will be in attendance to answer questions and collect memories. Sat. From 10.30am. On the Sunday (from 11.30am), classic motorcycles gather in the courtyard. Refreshments available, admission free.

Booking has opened for an open-air theatre production on 27 and 28 September (3pm).

Outline Theatre’s ‘Wheat to War’ is a celebration of local life and history, using song, dance and drama. Suitable for the whole family, the show features the coming of the Grand Union Canal, the building of the Great Western Railway and World War I, paying tribute to local heroes. Produced in partnership with the Imperial War Museum.

Tickets are £4 (four for £14, under fives free) via  www.outlinetheatre.co.uk, ortel. 01895 851936.

Cranford Park is served by bus E6, road access is beside M4 junction 3/A312 on The Parkway. Parking is free, satnav TW5 9RZ.

Coffee Morning invitation 2014

Bottled blackberries: Fri 22 Aug, 1-4pm

Posted: August 11th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Foraging | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Grow Heathrow

The highlight of our foraging year.

If Grow Heathrow hasn’t been evicted, we’re going to bottle loads of blackberries. Bring clean empty jars and you will earn respect, win honour and know true righteousness.  It’ll be the tail end but we should get lots of juicy buckets. You can taste some of last year’s (they’re great) and take some of this year’s jars home so you can fish for compliments from your family.

If we have been evicted, we’ll just go and eat blackberries. To be honest it might turn into just eating blackberries either way. See you there!

£10,000 No Third Runway film winner revealed

Posted: July 19th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Cool Projects, Events | Tags: , , | No Comments »

In October 2009 before he became Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The third runway at Heathrow is not going ahead, no ifs, no buts,” Within 30 months of taking power he set up a Commission widely expected to recommend airport expansion after his manifesto pledge runs out next year.

On Wednesday 18th June, more than 800 people packed into the Richmond Theatre to watch and judge the best viral films reminding Mr Cameron of his promise, and pressing the case against Heathrow expansion.

Audience Vote at 'No Ifs No Buts' Competition Final

The No Ifs No Buts Film Competition staged by Zac Goldsmith MP in conjunction with the campaign group HACAN attracted well over 50 videos. Fifteen were shown at the event on 18th June.

The Judges at 'No ifs no Buts' Heathrow Short Film Competition

In First Place: the residents’ film

In Second Place: the film beyond words

In Third Place: the comedy film

The 12 runners up are well worth watching.

Pickled elderberries: Fri 18 Jul, 1 – 4

Posted: July 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Foraging | Tags: | No Comments »


Living in broken rotting greenhouses has its perks.

What plant books flatteringly call ‘wasteland species’ may not have the looks but as we like to say here, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. And autumn is coming up, with our Garden of Eden maze of elderberries and blackberries. There’s even a volunteer from abroad staying at Grow Heathrow at the moment who despite getting to know all of us, the site and what we do there has privately admitted she’s now really there for the blackberries; after they finish she might be off to somewhere else.

On Friday 18th July, from 1pm to 4 we’ll be pickling green elderberries. We pickled loads of ripe and less ripe purple elderberries last year but they just weren’t amazing – they taste a lot of vinegar and a little bit of that rich, slightly unpleasant ‘elder smell’ that you get when you crush elder leaves. You can try them if you come round (no need to thank us). But the green ones we pickled got gobbled up with chips as comfort food in the dark winter – crunchier and less strong. So this year we know how to prepare to liven those winter moments when there’s ten men sat around the old wood burning stove and someone brings out a guitar with four strings and delights in another repeat singing ‘Wagon Wheel’. Green pickled elderberries for hot chips (and daal)! (You can also check out the Urban Harvest info on eating elderberries)

If you want to join the party, be there.

Elderflower cordial: Fri 13, 1-3pm

Posted: June 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Foraging | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Elderflowers and red clover

Yep, it’s that time of year again. The field by the old garden centre is full of red clover, and the rotting greenhouse frames are burping up sprays of elderflowers.

We’re gonna make some elderflower cordial. Be there. If you remember, grab a couple of clean empty jars or small glass bottles.

Poisonous carrot cousins and wild hogweed ‘asparagus’: Fri 16 May, 1-4pm

Posted: May 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Foraging | Tags: , | No Comments »

Foraging at Grow Heathrow

April was a loads of fun; 30 of us came down and learnt how to identify the mustard family (brassicaceae), which has no poisonous plants, as well as the springtime linden (tilia spp.) leaves that are offering massive free salads all over London. We also spent some time considering the risks of foraging, codes of conduct and the law. A big thank you to everyone who came, all inspiringly enthusiastic, and also to our favourite photographer Jonathan Goldberg for these kickass snaps.

Now it’s May, the first few hogweed (heracleum sphondylium) flowers are just beginning to bud. Our site is covered in hogweed, having been derelict and neglected for so long, which means we’re able to steam pots full of dozens of hogweed flower buds every day in summer. Like an abundant wild asparagus, it’s gobbled up. And even if we didn’t live in a sea of it, it’s handy that each plant will live an extra year if all of its flowers are harvested.

But hogweed is part of the carrot family (apiaceae), which contains deadly poisonous species. Many people have heard of one cousin of the carrot, toxic giant hogweed (heracleum mantegazzianum),  for the extreme sunburn rashes it causes when touched. The rashes can become scars that last years, and there’s plenty of giant hogweed growing along Cranford Lane as well as the Grand Union canal west of West Drayton.

We’ll start the workshop off with some very civilised nibbles – hogweed stems with hummus: they’re like a refreshing, slightly citrussy celery. We’ll learn how to tell the difference between toxic giant hogweed and edible common hogweed, as well as how to look for warning signs that wild plants may be in the dangerous carrot family. There’ll be some fun activities in pairs and groups to recap the day as well as handouts to take home. All that brain strain will be rewarded with a hike round the site harvesting, and then steaming the goods.

You’ll need to book in advance to be able to take part as this Month the workshop will have a cap of 12 foragers to be able to move quickly and fit all of our activities in. The suggested donation for the workshop is £8 for people on high or average wages and £3 for low waged and unwaged people. All donations go 100% to Grow Heathrow, paying for bike workshop tools, rice and bog roll. If money’s not ideal, you can donate your time washing up :D

 Book by leaving a comment here with your first name, which should take 10 seconds.  If you don’t have internet access then just let a resident know your name face to face or on the phone. You can also check out our travel info and videos about the site.

I’ve been enjoying a couple of foragers’ web pages a lot recently, Chester-based Eden Wild Food and London-based Ipso-phyto. They’ve got fantastic seasonal photos of local wild food, so check them out if you like the sound of that. They also both offer guided walks and workshops.