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.
Parsley, Sage and Chives, fresh from the Grow Heathrow meadow, given in away in the local post office on a donations basis.
Move to Heathrow?
Grow Heathrow, the squatted community garden by Heathrow airport, celebrated it’s 4th Birthday on Saturday the 1st of March.
People came from Bristol, Cambridge and France to kick off the celebrations with ‘Three Acres and a Cow’ on the Friday evening- a people’s history of Britain through folk songs, stories and poems connecting The Norman Conquest and Peasants’ Revolt with the 80′s road protests and Occupy via the enclosures and Highland Clearances.
Over 50 folk sat down for a hot skipped meal to watch the show which included performances from ‘Crazy Dvine’, Mark Brown, storyteller Nick Hunt, and Keely Mills who is Poet Laurette for Peterborough.
Saturday morning arrived and saw 150 people pass through the gates for site tours, cob-oven pizzas, seed sowing and sunshine.
The highlight of the day was definitely the Cake competition which saw the site turn into a kind of amphitheater arena with the audience finding viewing points on piles of logs, the cabin and whatever else they could find!
Cakes were followed by some top speeches from local campaigner Tracey, John McDonnell MP, Grow Heathrower Sam and supporters of the project.
As the blight of the Heathrow Third Runway still threatens the village of Sipson, and the Con-Dem government continues its mania of austerity cuts, it was once again inspiring to see Grow Heathrow thriving- putting politics into practice and building community power in the face of economic, ecological and democratic crises.
To find out more about Grow Heathrow visit www.transitionheathrow.com
And to learnt about storyteller Nick Hunt’s new book ‘Walking the Woods and the Water’ see http://nickhuntscrutiny.com/
Music from 3 Acres and a Cow at https://soundcloud.com/crazydivine
Credits to Community Food Growers Network for blog and photos
After all these years Grow Heathrow have finally come to the end of our legal battle!!
We were not able to take the appeal to the supreme court, as the case was not awarded legal aid, by a body that is being cut heavily by this government. Read more about cuts to legal aid here: http://www.savelegalaid.co.uk/
However, the case has set a positive precedent in housing law that will be able to be used in future cases on evictions for both squatters and exploited tenants. The last appeal heard at the High Court was the first case of it’s type where article 8, the Human Rights Act, was ever deemed to be relevant. Big news in a time where squatting is being criminalized in the middle of a housing crises.
Where does that leave us?
Basically in a similar place to where we were before. Grow Heathrow is still under possible threat, much like the last 4 years, but business as usual continues. The Wind Turbine is still soaring, the Chard is still growing and the compost loo’s are still being stirred!
Mainly we are still trying to create negotiations with the land owners to ultimately and ideally secure the site. With the 3rd runway back on the cards, we are not going anywhere. Watch this space…
A group of residents from Harmondsworth, Sipson and Harlington have successfully bid for a £7000 grant to give villagers a greater say in future development and planning issues.
The money has come from the Community Development Foundation, one of the organisations administering a £9.5 million government fund to support communities creating a Neighbourhood Plan for their area.
The plans can deal with a wide range of subjects, such as housing, employment, heritage and transport, or may focus on one or two issues that are of particular importance to local people.
Holly Crofter, a resident at Grow Heathrow in Sipson and now a member of the Heathrow Villages Planning Committee (HVPC) that will be using the grant, is enthusiastic about the project: “The Neighbourhood Plan will give our villages a say in development decisions that have, in the past, been difficult to influence in a meaningful way. It’s particularly important for this area, which has suffered the blight caused by airport-related development for decades.”
Having secured the grant with the help of the Harmondsworth and Sipson Residents’ Association and arranged for the charity Groundwork to accept the funds on their behalf, HVPC are eager to move forward with the process to draw up an approved Neighbourhood Plan. This includes finding seven residents from each village to join a Neighbourhood Forum.
A public meeting about the project is being held at St Mary’s Church Hall in Harmondsworth on Thursday 14 November at 7pm.
Harlington resident and HVPC member Christine Taylor is hoping for a good turnout: “To complete this project it’s vital that people from all three villages get involved. This is our chance to tell the planners and developers what we want in our area and, just as important, what we don’t want.”
The Community Food Growers’ Network summer harvest jamboree is coming up on Sunday the 15th September at Grow Heathrow.
Full information is copied in below so tell your friends and come along for an afternoon of gardening fun. The day will include horticultural games, workshops of many shapes and sizes, an allotment produce competition, a shared dinner and plenty of dancing.
Outline of the Day:
11:30 – 12 Arrive and have tea.
12 – 1 Site Tour of Grow Heathrow and practical Horticulture session. This is a chance to have a tour of the garden with one of the growers and learn more about the site. There will also be a parallel workshop on saving your own seed: an introduction to the politics, poetics and practices of seed saving in community gardens.
1 – 2 Lunch: Bring a contribution to share.
2 – 3 Workshops: ‘Growing to sell in a community food setting’ and ‘An introduction to the Landworkers Alliance and La Via Campesina in the UK’.
3 – 5:45 Horticultural games and allotment produce competition: The famous horticultural games will be held to include salad tossing, potato and knife race and sack race. Prizes and prestige to be won. Taste based allotment produce competition – entrants to bring 2 pieces of their best leaf, root and fruit, which will be judged on taste by a panel of experts.
6 -7 Closing CFGN plenary.
7 – 9 Shared Feast, Music and Dancing: Please bring along a contribution of your produce for the shared dinner, which will be prepared in the afternoon, or a contribution in kind. There will be music and dancing too.
Face painting and crafts alongside the events all day!
Allotment produce competition: Gardeners from all over London will be taking part in the great taste based produce competition. Anyone wishing to enter should bring along 2 pieces of their best root, fruit and leaf. Remember we are using botanical terms here so your tomatoes and cucumbers will be considered fruit.
Sharing Food: Bring along some of your harvest, or a donation to cover costs. Produce will be cooked up into a shared lunch and dinner with some special pizza from the clay oven.
Thanks to Jonathan Goldberg for putting together the awesome photo montage of our third birthday party: jongoldberg.co.uk
Update on the Court of Appeal verdict:
The judges failed to reach a unanimous decision on the case but by majority, our appeal was dismissed and permission was granted for the owners to seek a warrant for an eviction.
On the plus side, one of the judges found that squatters as well as tenants are entitled to respect for their home under article 8 of The European Convention on Human Rights and that the court should consider the individual circumstances of those affected when deciding how soon to make an eviction.
We are now working with our lawyers on a further appeal to the Supreme Court to define the arguments about whether article 8 is relavent to private land owners.
In the meantime, there is a low risk of imminent eviction and we’re asking for support on site over the next few weeks. Come along today for dinner and help us make plans for securing our future.
See here for directions to site. If you plan to stay the night, please bring a sleeping bag and tent if you can.
Grow Heathrow campaigner Joe Rake said:
“We think it’s important to challenge a law that protects the right of irresponsible landlords to trash the heart of a community. We are still following up options to appeal to the Supreme court and hope we can come to an agreement so that we can carry on working with the local resident’s association and our MP to make sure ‘Grow Heathrow’ exists as a community resource in the long-term.”
Sipson resident Tracey Howard commented:
“At a time when harsh austerity cuts are effecting people across the country, ‘Grow Heathrow’ is a great example of what can be done when a community takes back control of its land to meet its own needs.
Spread the word and thanks for your support!
The AGM of HASRA’(Harmondsworth and Sipson Residents Association) is coming up.
Come along to discuss the future of the Heathrow villages. John Mcdonnell MP and John Stewart (HACAN chair) will be in attendance to answer questions. Wednesday 1st May 7.30 pm – 9.00 pm Heathrow School Hall.
Last month while Heathrow villagers were gearing up for their winter holidays Grow Heathrow pounced on the opportunity to spread some environmental gospel.
Free wreath making and a restocked free shop went down a storm at the rather rainy Harmondsworth Christmas market; punters wove Laurel, Ivy, Holly and other foraged foliage to create their circular masterpieces.
At the grand unveiling of Sipson’s first community Christmas tree, roasting and distributing free sweet chestnuts, locally sourced of course, was a tasty treat even John Mcdonell (MP) couldn’t resist. Our warming snacks also delighted many at the Com. Cafe hosted, Mayor’s Carol event, the following week.
Not only does outreach of this kind leave a sweet taste in the mouth, it also encourages local people to think more about where their produce is from. Nature provides a wealth of glorious bounty whatever the season.