Posted: November 14th, 2015 | Author: Eddy Gums | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Com Café is a social hub in West Drayton that Grow Heathrowers are proud to be connected with. Serving a range of favourite comfort foods is only a small part of the many attributes that make Com Café great; in the last year Com Café and Grow Heathrow have shared a number of projects made possible by Com Café’s truly unique combination of family fun and community outreach.
In the cool spring air diligently digging beds, Com Café volunteers brought to life a number of raised beds along the pathways of Grow Heathrow. As part of this, Com Café and Grow Heathrow put on a children’s day, hanging out in the woods and playing games in nature before settling down to plant sunflower seeds, seeds to give away in the community garden and learn about gardening. Com Café’s raised beds flourished as the weather got warmer, tomatoes, vegetables and calendula flowers, as well as a mysterious perennial potato burst into bloom and abundance.
Moving into the summer it was our turn to pay Com Café a visit, every other Wednesday Grow Heathrow would collect fresh fruit and vegetables from the market and deliver these goods by bike-trailer to the café. At Com Café meals packed with your five-a-day were given freely to anyone who arrived to make use of the food bank.
On a weekend forecast for rain, we prayed for sunshine as the community came together for Com Café’s summer fair. Many community groups gathered, with games, music and stalls. Grow Heathrow did a traditional brick making workshop, potted-up plants and made smoothies on our trusty bike-smoothie-maker. Music boomed out of the café onto the green where the kids of West Drayton had a whale of a time. At the end of the day all were happy and satisfied. Com Café truly shines out as one of the best places in West Drayton, taking initiative at every step of the way.
Back at Grow Heathrow the sunflowers planted in the spring by energy filled kids from Com Café flourished a sign of good things to come in the next year for friendship between Grow Heathrow and Com Café.
Posted: October 20th, 2015 | Author: Eddy Gums | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Volunteers from Grow Heathrow were delighted to be invited to join friends of Cranford Park for a traditional-style wassailing in their abundant orchard. Trees sagged, heavy with apples- it had been a grand summer for orchards, hot and then soaking, the best conditions for growing fruit. The tree bearing the most delicious crisp and sweet apples had fallen to the side because it was so heavy, and beside him, another tree had a bed of fallen and rotting apples below, with branches still beholden with more golden and red fruit.
A crowd of Wassailers gathered beneath the trees harvesting the apples in a sheet, aided with a hoe to reach the higher branches. When we finally reached the chosen tree a blushing variety out of the forty seven in the orchard (with excellent names like ‘joybells’, ‘orange goff’ or ‘cats head’), we gathered in a circle and rustled song sheets in our hands reading a song to sing to the abundant little tree before us.
Oh little apple tree,
We have come to wassail thee,
Will you bare some fruit for me,
When the season changes!
We practiced the song, excellently sang to us by Robert, who led the wassail, and despite claiming to be tone deaf, he conducted the enthusiastic choir tunefully. The fiddlers (violinists) from Grow Heathrow joined in, playing the traditional tune. Altogether the crowd of wassailers gifted the tree a treat of bread and cider, hung in the branches for the tree to drink. In the UK there are over two thousand varieties, but many are forgotten as consuming habits normalise some apples and allow others to become obscure.
Following the wassail, all congregated in Cranford Park’s secret garden for a cup of tea and some cake home made to raised money for the Macmillan Charity. Delicious mulled cider was served and apples harvested that morning were pressed into fresh flavourful apple juice. Fiddlers continued to play and enjoyed a cup of mulled cider and cherry cake for their efforts before cycling back to Grow Heathrow.
Posted: October 19th, 2015 | Author: Eddy Gums | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Did you know that the full moon closest to the Autumn Equinox is known as the Harvest Moon? This year’s, on the night of the 27th-28th September, caused a stir as not only was it an usually large “super-moon”, but a “blood moon”, created by a lunar eclipse.
Also causing a stir that weekend was Grow Heathrow’s very first Harvest Festival! Finally, after 5 years of working the land, we took time to relax, celebrate, and give thanks for an excellent year of growing.
Harvest is traditionally a time of year when the community comes together and our festival was no exception, with everyone on site getting involved with preparations, and people converging from across the Heathrow villages and beyond. Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) took the chance to educate visitors on the ongoing fight against the planned third runway at Heathrow with their excellent info stand run by volunteers.
The whole site got in the spirit of handmade, with Grow Heathrow holding a fundraising stall selling coasters made from sustainable cherry wood, handmade jewellery, and delicious jam made from wild damsons found growing in Heathrow hedgerows. Other goodies included handmade herbal teabags, and a herbal poultice workshop where visitors could learn to make a soothing calendula cream from flowers grown on site. An onsite artist painted a portrait of the Spirit of Harvest on a reclaimed plywood pallet, watched and encouraged by onlookers. We also hosted a guess the weight of the pumpkin competition, starring a pumpkin from our raised beds, which encouraged a range of punts from 150g to 12kg, with the beast of a vegetable finally weighing in at a whopping 7.4kg!
The campaign against the 3rd runway at Heathrow. That was the talking point in the afternoon open discussion. Grow Heathrow, initially established to build local resilience and instil an ethos of resistance against the airport, continues to be a focal point in mobilising creative action against the airport. Input from John Stewart (HACAN), Christine Taylor (SHE) and Sheila Menon (Plane Stupid) followed an impassioned debate on where we are in the campaign, and next steps towards smashing the proposals for a runway at Heathrow, Gatwick, or anywhere.
Easy to do Calendula Ointment and Rosehip Syrup workshop at the Harvest Festival
Following the stimulating talks of the afternoon a small crowd gathered in Grow Heathrow’s woods beside the apothecary to make immunity boosting and skin nourishing treats with plants found all around Grow Heathrow.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Organic Bees Wax
Firstly we started the small rocket stove that sits happily on a table top and whilst Finn stoked the fire, a group of children broke calendula flowers into pieces into a pan of olive oil. When making this ointment we harvest as many calendula flowers as will fit in the pan, making the beneficial attributes of the flowers as potent as possible in our final balm. Although traditionally one should only harvest a third of one’s wild crop, calendula flowers benefit from vigorous harvesting and can flower into late autumn when regularly harvested. Bringing the oil and flower mixture to a simmer over the stove, volunteers stirred the potion whilst others browsed through books or explored the shelves of Grow Heathrow’s apothecary. When the oil was well infused with the calendula petals we strained the mixture through a sieve, leaving the well wrung out petals to one side (sometimes we eat them). Then we brought the golden mixture back onto the heat to melt bees wax. The ratio that we currently find works well is a 10:1 ratio of oil:bees wax, meaning that the ointment sets well at room temperature.
After the wax had melted each person poured a little of the ointment into a jar to take home. Some people added lavender oil for the extra healing benefits. Allow the ointment to cool before placing on the lid.
Benefits and suggested uses of Calendula ointment:
anti-inflammatory,antimicrobial, astringent, antifungal,antiviral, and immunostimulant properties, for disinfecting and treating minor wounds, conjunctivitis, cuts, scrapes, chapped or chafed skin, bruises, burns, athlete’s foot and acne.
Grabbing a fresh pan we filled the pan with rosehips, up to the top, and then half-filled the pan with water. We boiled this for about forty minutes. Dinner was called, and as was suggested in the recipe we left the decoction to cool for another twenty minutes. When making this recipe at home if you have a food blender, prior to boiling use a blender to make the fruit into smaller pieces, this way you get even more nutrition for your labour, but be sure that when you strain the fruit this way you don’t get any of the little fibers in your drink as they are rather itchy. I’d advise you to strain through a t-shirt. As we hadn’t blended our rosehips, we mashed them through a sieve collecting the maroon juice to reheat and stir in the sugar. An easy to remember rosehip syrup recipe is simple: use half the amount of water as you have rosehips, and add sugar to the tune of half of the amount of liquid you produce from your rosehip infused water.
We sat around in the fading light, and drank different teas, and tasted healing mixtures such as the rosehip syrup, as well as elderberry syrup from earlier in the season. Rosehip syrup welcomes flavourings such as cinnamon or other spices. At Grow Heathrow we have been enjoying the simplicity of the pure rosehip flavour. Whilst the liquid is still hot, place a lid on top and wrap in a scarf or blanket, doing this is seal the jar meaning that there is no need to boil the jars as is often the tradition.
Benefits of Rosehip Syrup:
Stomach spasms, stomach acid deficiency, preventing stomach irritation, ulcers diarrhoea, constipation, gallstones, gallbladder ailments, lower urinary tract and kidney disorders, fluid retention, gout, sciatica, diabetes, high cholesterol, weight loss, high blood pressure, chest ailments, fever, increasing immune function during exhaustion, increasing blood flow in the limbs and vitamin C boost.
It wouldn’t be a proper harvest festival without feasting, and our fantastic activist chefs did not disappoint. Throughout the day our wood fuel pizza oven was roaring away, perfectly cooking the kind of artisan pizza even East London foodie purists would bow to. Slaving away over a hot stove in the kitchen, another team of chefs churned out several vegan dishes for dinner. Judging by the clean plates and happy guests, dinner was a winner.
Our festival wound down as night fell, and as the stars above came out, so did our musical stars for the open mic night. What better way to end a day of celebration in the sunshine and a summer than with a belly full of homemade ginger beer, and ears full of live music?
See you all at the winter solstice…
Posted: August 15th, 2015 | Author: Tree | Filed under: Action, Cool Projects, Education, Events, Foraging, Uncategorized | No Comments »
Saturday 5th September from 1pm – 5pm
The Elderberry (sambucus nigra) has long been treasured for its anti-viral properties. It ripens towards the end of summer in good time for the cold wet months ahead. This workshop will focus on Winter immunity, discovering herbs that can be harvested and preserved for the coming months, the elderberry medicines you’ll make will help keep you flu free all winter..
Workshop will include:
Herbal tea tasting and discussion – meeting our medicinal friends face-to-face.
An informative herb walk around site, with highlight at the apothecary, focusing on immunity and Winter preparations.
Practical medicine making – Elderberry immune tonic and Elderberry balsamic vinegar – lets get juicy!
Ritual journeying with a herb.
What you need to bring:
Jam Jars (at least 2)
Notebook and pen
Secateurs or penknife
Basket or the like
Meet 1pm at Grow Heathrow, Vineries Close, Sipson. UB7 0JH
This is a free workshop but donations to site are welcome.
Posted: August 5th, 2015 | Author: Eddy Gums | Filed under: Uncategorized | 3 Comments »
Lewdown Holdings have submitted a planning application for the Sipson Garden Centre site, the land where a large portion of the community project Grow Heathrow is located. Hillingdon Council’s planning department will be accepting comments on the application from the public until August 6th (TOMORROW!).
The link to the application on the council’s website is here:
Please write to the council why you think this over-development of Green Belt land is a bad idea: Click on the link above and then click on the ‘enter comment’ button
Quick! Only 24 hours to make a comment. Below are some suggested reasons you could use in your statement:
Habitat and health
· The area is designated Green belt land
Green belt land is intended to prevent sprawl of up built areas, to prevent neighbouring towns from merging into each other, to safeguard countryside form encroachment, preserve the special character of historic towns, to assist regeneration by encouraging the recycling of derelict land).
· The planning application shows no intention of maintaining the land for agricultural use.
· The 52 housing units will be too close to the motorway. Pollution in this area is already twice the EU limit for contaminated air leading to an increase occurrence of respiratory diseases.
· More housing will lead to increased emissions such as traffic congestions in this pollution saturated area.
· The land proposed for development is home to a variety of habitat, providing homes for an array of flora and fauna. The Ecology Report presented by Lewdown Holdings emits any inclusion of the most densely biodiverse areas of the land, with almost a third of the land survey simply labelled ‘no service access’ (Ecology Report 2015: 8, Figure 2.1: Reptile refugia locations). The proposed green area and allotments in in the current plan will not compensate for the loss of habitat and species, especially in the areas that have not been surveyed.
· Biodiversity offsets carbon and local air pollution, and saves species from losing their natural habitat.
There is no indication that the housing would be built from sustainable materials.
Mental well-being has been shown to be adversely affected by an erosion of green spaces and community facilities (Guite, Clark, Ackrill, 2006). The reports provided by Lewdown Holdings do not compensate for the huge loss of local green space which the land is currently used for.
Local community groups, a combined effort by Neighbourhood Plan Forum and HASRA aim to purchase the land as an Asset of Community Value in order to offset the aforementioned health and habitat damages that would be caused by developing this green belt land.
· Sipson already has a multitude of unused or short hold lease houses, areas with too many empty homes lead to poor social cohesion and related issues. An aim of Green Belt land is to protect historic character of towns; Sipson and the surrounding villages work towards preserving this character, which would be undermined by new houses being built upon traditional orchard land.
The project using this land has not only dramatically improved this derelict site but it has lifted the morale of the whole local community in the campaign against the third runway; it is integral in planning a sustainable future for our area. This development would undo what’s been achieved to help reverse the trend of blight in the Heathrow villages.
“Grow Heathrow is about a living, sustainable, community based future. We should be enabling projects like this not closing them down. Growing food, cooking it and eating together is the glue that has held societies together – we need a lot more of it, not less.”
John McDonnell, MP
· Considering the airport expansion plans, it would be completely unethical to put new homes so close to the runway (air pollution, noise pollution, lack of access, road congestion)
Infrastructure and economics
· In the event of airport expansion, local schools such as Heathrow Primary will be wiped off the map and other schools will be over-subscribed by displaced local children. The possibility of families moving into these new 52 housing units and their needs not being met has not been considered.
The planning application hasn’t taken into account the higher numbers of driver produced by 52 housing units. Roads in the surrounding area are already congested with taxi drivers, airport workers as well as local residents.The planned affordable housing and the adjacent open market housing especially do not provide adequate parking. This has not been adequately addressed in the Travel Planning Report (Bacon, Coleman and Blacker, 2015)
· Planning for pedestrian access is unrealistic with only three access points.
· The proposed housing is not sustainable; relying on imported materials and fossil fuels.
· Airport expansion might lead to this new housing being destroyed or becoming uninhabitable due to noise and pollution. This would be a waste of time and resources.
Bacon, Coleman and Blacker, 2015. Sipson Garden Centre Travel Plan WSP UK Limited, Mountbatten House
Guite, H.F., Clark, C, Ackrill, G. 2006. The impact of the physical and urban environment on mental well-being. Public Health, 120, 1117-1126.
Phase 2 Ecology Report:2015 “http://planning.hillingdon.gov.uk/OcellaWeb/showDocuments?reference=67666/APP/2015/2413&module=pl
Posted: July 28th, 2015 | Author: Eddy Gums | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Future City Zines with OOMK
A zine drop-in workshop with OOMK at Grow Heathrow. Participants will be invited to use various templates and collage materials to create their own future city zines to take away. Participants will be able to explore the Grow Heathrow site to draw inspiration from it as well as sifting through a collection of zines and emphera brought along by OOMK.
Suggested donation – £2
OOMK is a highly visual, handcrafted small-press publication. Printed biannually its content pivots upon the imaginations, creativity and spirituality of women. Each issue centres around different creative theme, with more general content exploring topics of faith, activism and identity. Studio OOMK is a design studio that specialises in bespoke booklet design, project documentation, exhibition design and live illustration. The studio is run by Sofia Niazi (illustrator and educator), Heiba Lamara (researcher) and Rose Nordin (graphic designer). Previous clients include the Museum of London, Southbank Centre, 3FF and the Migration Museum.
By public transport from Central London: Travel to West Drayton in TfL zone 6 in 20 minutes by train from Paddington. From West Drayton station take the 222 bus towards Hounslow and get off at the Harmondsworth Lane stop, next to the King William pub. The stop before is The Plough and the stops afterwards are Sipson Close and Sipson Way. Grow Heathrow is 50 metres from the bus stop: continue in the same direction, take the next left into Sipson Lane, and left again passing the Church. You will see the banners on the gates to our site on Vineries Close, next to the Cooperative nursery.
Alternatively, travel on the Piccadilly Line to Hounslow West and then take the 222 toward Uxbridge and get off at Sipson Close. Grow Heathrow is a minutes walk away from the bus stop, continuing in the same direction. The entrance to our site is on Vineries Close, next to the Cooperative nursery, and can be found after turning right onto Sipson Lane.
By bike from West Drayton: A well-marked cycle path runs south from West Drayton station: after turning left out of the station, continue straight ahead on Station Road, which becomes Sipson Road, all the way. You go through a motorway underpass and through Sipson village, where you’ll see the King William pub on your right that we’re near to. Bikes can be taken on all trains between Paddington and West Drayton and they tend to be fine about people taking bikes on during peak hours. It’s possible to cycle between Hayes/West Drayton and central London in under 2 hours following the route of the Grand Union Canal.
Posted: July 24th, 2015 | Author: Eddy Gums | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Fellow singers, dancers, mortal beings and purveyors of the arts. Tomorrow evening will be Grow Heathrow’s second Open Mic Night, Cèilidh dancing session and spiritual conflux.
To get started we will gather round the table and enjoy five, fine courses of fine vegan cuisine at 7pm.
A tour of the site will commence after dinner, ending in a fireside gathering.
The Open Mic will begin at approximately 9 o clock.
Scheduled performers include:
The Goat King
And many, many more.
People are welcome to stay over and sleep in our newly constructed guest inn.
Disclaimer: This will not end in a rave.
Posted: July 5th, 2015 | Author: Musicraft | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Thursday 16th July, 3-4pm and 8-9pm
Surprise public location in the Heathrow Villages – to be announced
A gallery showing of community art work in the Heathrow Villages, inspiring community care, social change and positive investment for the long term.
Drink and refreshments provided
Posted: June 12th, 2015 | Author: Eddy Gums | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Posted: May 18th, 2015 | Author: Jack R | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Check out our latest calendar of events! See our facebook page for updates.