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.

The polytunnel sporadic blog

Posted: May 20th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Around a year ago, we built a 110 square meter polytunnel, mostly from recycled materials. Total cost was around £300, which covered the plastic and some nuts and bolts. The wood for the 4 raised beds came mostly from the fire pile of a local sawmill (so we ended up with some beautiful pieces of oak to make the beds with), and we used a modified version of the Hügelkultur idea, which is to say that the bottom half of the approx. half meter deep beds are filled with big chunks of wood. This wood gradually breaks down over time, releasing fertility and heat to the soil above, but in the first couple of years, it robs nitrogen from the soil as the decomposition process begins. The modification to this process that we made was to add wood chip to the big pieces of wood, with the theory being that this would help initiate decomposition faster (given that smaller items rot faster). To alleviate the loss of nitrogen from the soil (as we had no good soil to begin with), we added a layer of biochar, because it’s a rich source of nitrogen. Atop that is around 30cm of any old soil we could find, typically quite heavy clay soil. The exception to that was the 4th bed, which had no soil at all, just rotted woodchip on top. That’s led to a, uh, healthy population of woodlice (I suspect there’s tens of thousands of crustaceans in that bed), but no apparent difference in the fertility of the soil. We used a lot of nettle tea (a rich source of nitrogen) on all the beds last year, so despite the poor quality soil that we started with (or even complete lack of soil, on that 4th bed), we had immediately healthy, fertile soil, with abundant growth.

That’s a potted history of our polytunnel; it took around 3 months to build, and it’s now in its second spring. We’ve got lots of greens growing, from spinach to mizuna to rocket to plain old lettuces, plenty of beans and peas, tomatoes, squash and a half dozen bathtubs full of carrots, coriander, beetroot and basil. We tried a few of the edible weeds last year, but this year the only thing that we’ve let grow (because other plants such as chickweed didn’t provide much yield) is wood sorrel, because it’s delicious! It’s got a lemony, rockety sorta flavour, and is such an unassuming little plant, I’ve let it spread where-ever it’s established itself. Which has had the fun consequence of allowing us to watch wood sorrel flower and go to seed, as we discovered that it doesn’t rely on insects or even the wind to spread its seeds; the seeds explode outwards from the seed pods as they dry out and become brittle, at which point a gentle brush sends seeds flying everywhere. We spotted them getting up to 30cm away, not bad for a tiny 1mm seed! You can just about spot them flying around in this video:

Amazing exploding wood sorrel seeds! We bagged a few seeds and I’ll help that little patch of sorrel along, as it’s in the shadiest corner of the polytunnel, suitable for a woodland plant.

Next post will be a quick tour of the polytunnel, suitable maybe for its first birthday! I’ll try to get a few photos together from the building process too, as it’s fun to see that previously unused space turn into the lush, green haven that it is now.


Back from Amsterdam

Posted: May 9th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

So Rich and I just spent a few days at the Food Autonomy Festival, organised by ASEED, a Dutch charity focused on GMOs and resistance to agribusiness in recent years. A most excellent time was had by all, and some good connections made. Apparently at least one person has been inspired by Grow to enthusiasm about resisting Schiphol airport expansion, and hopefully a new Bokashi bucket or two more exists in Amsterdam after the workshop we gave on anaerobic composting (better described actually as fermentation, we’ll be hosting the same workshop here within the next few weeks, keep an eye on the Facebook page), so a few days well spent. Lots of thanks to Finn, Jonny and ASEED for inviting and hosting us, our temporary accommodation definitely felt like home when I saw this in the kitchen:

 

 

When all else fails, try reverse psychology on the washing up!

On a more serious note, we met a few of the people from this neat Warsaw squatted allotment (who count Yorkley Court as among their inspirations for the project), visited a really cool aquaponics garden cafe in the main park in Amsterdam and got to know the Amsterdam squatting scene a little. Sitting through a visit by the owners of the squat we were in, showing the place off to potential tenants, while we squatters sat drinking tea, was one of the more surreal moments, but hey, it’s all in a good day’s work.

We had some interesting talks around ideas of hierarchy and leadership, and it struck me that these interactions between various eco/political/activist projects around Europe are fertile ground for new ideas; a little like edges between habitats in permaculture are generally rich, biodiverse habitats due to the input from two different ecosystems, perhaps this notion holds true for the meeting of 2 different activist cultures, too. I come away from the Food Autonomy Festival with an increased realisation of just how central to our lives our food production systems are, and with agribusiness gradually merging into ever more massive corporations (it was news to me that Monsatano was recently bought out by another agribusiness, in the biggest corporate merger in history), new visions of how to produce our food locally, sustainably and without corporate control can only be a good thing.


Seeking new female, non-binary, trans and other gender-queer volunteers!

Posted: April 14th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

 

For the past few months, Grow Heathrow has been having a bit of a rest from taking on new volunteers to stay. This was for us to have a rest and come together as a group of people living and working together.

Now spring is here, we’d like to open our gates again to volunteers to stay – following our usual process, which is:

  • Send us an email saying who you are and why you want to stay

  • Once we’ve said it’s OK – come and stay for a week and see how it goes

  • After a week – check in with us at our Wednesday meetings and if it’s good for us all, stay for another 3 weeks

  • After a total of a month, if it’s going really well you can ask to be a Long Term Volunteer, here we ask you to be more committed to the project and after asking at a meeting you need to go away for 10 days to give us and you time to reflect. If all goes well, stay for up to 3 months and start taking on more responsibility.

Although we are open again to volunteers, we are currently only reopening to women, trans people, and other non-binary or gender queer folk.

Q: So does this mean we are not open to men?

A: Yes, currently we won’t be accepting requests of volunteers to stay from cis-gendered men – i.e. people who were born ‘male’ and still identify as such. But you can still come and be a day visitor and get involved in work days, workshops and other events.

We have chosen to do this for a number of reasons, not least because we recognise that our fight against the ecological crisis, climate change and the proposed 3rd runway ath Heathrow, is intimately tied to the fight against patriarchy, hetero-sexism and all other forms of oppression. Whilst we aim to fight these things, we also realise that these oppressions are internalised in all of us, in particular men, who are socialised under patriarchy in various problematic ways. Eco-camps such as ours have a reputation for being somewhat macho – and we think this is due to the culture that is created in these spaces, and not because women and non-binary people can’t handle the cold and chopping wood.

Of course, we also realise that this decision not to accept cis-men for the time being is a blunt instrument and that not all men have internalised patriarchal behaviours to the same extent. However, untill we are closer to some form of gender (queer) parity we feel like this step is useful in creating a radically inclusive space.


Court Solidarity Demonstration for Grow Heathrow

Posted: March 23rd, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Grow Heathrow in court 2017

Grow Heathrow has a trial scheduled for 3-5 April with Lewdown Holdings Ltd for possession of the majority of the land we occupy. If Lewdown were to win in court, a date for bailiffs to attempt to take repossession could be set within days or weeks of the trial.

A solidarity demonstration will be held on Monday, 3rd April at 9am outside Central London County Court, Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, WC2A 2LL, on 3rd April from 9:00am. You are invited to join us with banners and music outside the court. Please share our facebook event.

Our defence will be heard on Day 2, 4th April, with the final judgement in the afternoon session of Day 3, 5th April. Presence is welcome in the public gallery and outside court throughout the trial.

Defendants from the project will be arguing under the right to a home, as interpreted under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998, to resist a possession order. Grow Heathrow is also arguing that any possession order would infringe the freedom of expression (under Article 10) and freedom of assembly, protest and association (under Article 11).

thbeforeandafter1

Grow Heathrow has occupied the disputed land since 2010; removing fly-tipped rubbish and creating a hub of low carbon living and resistance to the 3rd runway in the seven years since. Lewdown Holdings only discovered our occupation back in 2014, giving an indication of their lack of active involvement with the land. They have had multiple planning applications rejected on the grounds of ecological damage – their latest being a plan to scalp the land and dig out a gravel pit.

The landlords have decided to pursue a possession order despite indicating the potential for negotiations with representatives from Grow Heathrow, potentially using the land collaboratively as a horticultural project supplying fresh produce as well as educational services to the local community, acting as a resource centre for sustainable living.

While the airport and government march on with their destructive plans for a third runway – and most of the land in this country is still owned by a tiny elite – we want to carry on: welcoming groups to use this shared resource, running workshops on food growing/ social & environmental issues/ radical politics, fixing bikes and putting on events for everyone to enjoy.

Please come and help us defend our home and this shared resource that hundreds of people have built up over the years.

Share widely and see you soon. treehouse


Grow Heathrow’s 7th Birthday – Saturday 4th March – more details coming soon!

Posted: February 15th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

GH 7th birthday flyer


The Darkness

Posted: October 22nd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
halloween-gh
Join us for a theatrical play at Grow Heathrow for Halloween. The theme for this year’s production will be the darkness that lives inside of us… and in the forest, as 3 hikers are about to find out…
Deep in the forest….
Does she await….
Your Darkness she’ll find,
And your life……
She’ll take…….
Can you see the light yet…?

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/220783155006823/

We’re hibernating (early)

Posted: October 7th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

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It’s been a busy summer here at Grow Heathrow – with lots of people coming and going, learning and sharing all kinds of skills and information about sustainability, getting involved in activism, meeting new people… and so much more!

Whilst all this is great, it can be a bit much if you don’t get a rest. So for this reason, we’re taking a break from accepting new volunteers at Grow who want to stay on site. It will be for at least a month, from Oct 19th, but could be more depending on how we feel.

Does this mean we’re ‘closed’? Absolutely not!

Please still come and visit for the day, come to our events, offer workshops, use our space for your own events etc. We’re still here to be used! And if the Government makes a decision about a new runway at Heathrow – we’re still going to be a vital hub of resistance!

We hope this isn’t a pain for anyone planning to come, but ask that people respect this, so that we can keep doing all the things we do, but even better!

Love from Grow Heathrow x


Anti-Airport Action Lab – #staygrounded @Grow Heathrow

Posted: September 17th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

stay-grounded

 

This Saturday the 24th at Grow Heathrow there will be an anti-airport ‘action lab’ – a day of preparation for the #staygrounded actions happening on the 1st October.

GET CLUED UP | TRAINED UP | TEAMED UP | PLAN FOR ACTION

11:00 – 18:00,  Grow Heathrow, Vineries Close, UB7 0JH

  • Everything you need to know about the Airport Flashmob & Critical Mass – 1st Oct.
  • Find out about the anti-aviation expansion campaign going on in the UK and abroad.
  • Get skilled up with basic direct action training with bikes or on foot
  • Meet others taking action and form teams
  • Use the collective space to make creative props
  • Put it all together and plan your action!

A one stop shop for an awesome airport experience!

As ever, Grow Heathrow will be cooking up some lunch, but by all means bring a dish to share.

We have guest accommodation with bunk beds that you are free to use, although be aware that you’ll probably be sharing it with a few others. A sleeping bag and a head torch are useful items to bring with you. Bring a tent for your own private sleeping space.

Ring us on 07835012486. Email: info@transitionheathrow.com

Grow Heathrow: http://www.transitionheathrow.com/

Reclaim the Power: https://reclaimthepower.org.uk/aviation-flashmob-critical-mass/


BACKGROUND:

Amidst a crazy political maelstrom, expansion plans at London City Airport were given the green light in July. The UK government is now expected to announce plans for a new runway, probably at Heathrow or Gatwick, in October – a decision which hangs in the air like a noose over our heads, and which we know will place the interests of a wealthy minority, and the profits of corrupt corporations, over the lives of ordinary people.

In solidarity with local and international groups, and in defence of climate and social justice all over the world, Reclaim the Power is calling for safe and peaceful action against the aviation industry, with a family-friendly flashmob and critical mass bike bloc at a London airport.

What: 100s of people will create a family-friendly flashmob and Critical Mass bike block Where: A London airport (to be announced) When: Saturday 1st October 2016


Stay Grounded: day of action against airport expansion – Saturday 1st October

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

flashmob-2

After years of delay, the controversial announcement of a new runway at Gatwick or Heathrow is expected on the 18th October. It comes just months after the green light was given to expansion at London City Airport, and makes a mockery of our own legally binding commitments for action on climate change. Clearly, more planes mean more catastrophic climate change, whilst our homes, communities and cultural legacy are destroyed. It is time to fight back.

In solidarity with local and international groups, and in defence of the climate and people all over the world, Reclaim the Power is calling for people to take safe and peaceful action against the aviation industry. Join in on a for a family-friendly flashmob and critical mass bike block at a London airport on Saturday 1st October.

As Black Lives Matter activists shut down London City Airport last week, over 400 people have so far pledged to take part in this day of action. The exact location is being kept secret, to keep the authorities on their toes.

All Day Action Labs @ Grow Heathrow – Saturday 24th and Friday 30th September – GET CLUED UP | TRAINED UP | TEAMED UP | PLAN FOR ACTION  – MORE INFORMATION COMING SOON.


WILL YOU JOIN IN IF HUNDREDS OF OTHERS PLEDGE TO COME?

GREAT! Here’s what to do next:

1) Add your email address to the pledge platform here: http://tinyurl.com/jxsxkyf, so that the organisers can let you know more info as it’s revealed. The more people who sign up, the more others will want to join, and the more effective we can be.

2) Get yourself along to one of the info-sharing / legal briefing / action training events at Grow heathrow or The Hive, to ensure you are fully prepared to participate. Details of the events can be found here: https://reclaimthepower.org.uk/events/

3) Start thinking about who your affinity group is and what you’re going to bring and wear (see below for suggestions)

4) Join this Facebook event, and share it with all your friend. – ttps://www.facebook.com/events/1764336040473934/

For information from Reclaim the Power on what will be happening on the 1st October, read below.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

WHATS THE PLAN?

This will be a fun, colourful and safe event that everyone is invited to participate in. An action consensus has been agreed to set the safe parameters of this day of action. The health and safety of airport staff, passengers and ourselves are of paramount importance and a top priority, and just in case it is not clear we will not be going on to any runways!

https://reclaimthepower.org.uk/aviation-flashmob-critical-mass/aviation-action-consensus/

Visually and creatively we will focus on the polluting aviation industry, the affluent minority who are driving the so-called ‘need’ for aviation expansion, and the 300,000+ people who are already suffering from the effects climate change, and who are paying the price for this convenient luxury lifestyle, with their lives.

There will be three main ways that people can participate in the day of action, individually and as part of affinity groups that will have autonomy over how they operate.

(1) BLOCK A

will be family-friendly, in a publicly accessible inside area. Creative themes (for dressing up) will be:

  • The “15%” – the minority of ‘flash-the-cash’, ‘binge’ frequent flyers who we know are driving the so-called ‘need’ for airport expansion in the UK

  • The tax man – and the heavy subsidisies to the aviation industry

  • A die-in – representing the 300,000+ people who are already dying each year, all over the world, from climate change related causes

  • Speech & thought bubbles – to convey the key messages in a creative and clever way

  • Red lines – aviation expansion is crossing a red line for a just and liveable planet, and people are paying with their lives (wear red)

(2) BLOCK B

will consist of cyclists, and will be in a publicly accessible outside area. Creative themes (for dressing up) will be:

  • Reimagining the alternatives – what could a future without aviation look like?

(3) Autonomous affinity groups are also invited to take creative action elsewhere, as part of the day of action, adhering to the same action consensus.


Harvest Festival – Saturday 10th of September

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

The summer is fleeting… but we’re still here!

It’s been a lovely summer for those of us here at Grow Heathrow. Our polytunnel has given us a bounty of lush delicious tomatoes, and the brewery has been bubbling away. We’d like to invite you all to our Harvest Festival on Saturday 10th of September, running from 10:30am til late into the evening. During the day we’ll have family fun, fresh food (the pizza oven will be on form), a craft fair, and more; then come evening it’s bonfire and live music time!

 

Grow Heathrow

 

If any of you lovely people out there are makers, we’d love for you to have a table at our craft fair- it’s free, with a £5 suggested donation. You can sell anything you like, as long as it’s handmade, from photographic prints, wood work, crochet, or anything else. If that sounds like something you’d be into- please get in touch with Ru on 07753394600 or ruraynor@gmail.com.

September also means back to school- and we want to restart our workshop programme. Could you help? Past workshops have included pickling, how to subvert advertising, and radical embroidery. We also love to host talks, lectures, discussions, and film nights, so get in touch (info@transitionheathrow.com) with what you’d like to do, and when you’d like to do it. Our workshops work on a donation basis to make them accessible to as many people as possible.

Click here for Facebook event

We hope you’ve had a lovely summer, and that we’ll see you soon. Stay tuned for information on our court date.

peace and love,

Transition Heathrow

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