Posted: April 9th, 2014 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Events, Gardening Club, Growing Group | Tags: community, cranford, Harlington, sustainability | No Comments »
If you have thought of volunteering in the park, now is the time! Just turn up at one of Cranford Park Friends’ monthly sessions, meeting at the Secret Garden beside the Stables, on the second Sunday of each month… the next
session is this coming Sunday April 13 at 10am (see below). No experience or tools are required.
Some other event highlights for the coming months are listed below. Other news in brief:
Repairs to the Stable Block roof, weatherproofing and ivy removal have been completed by the London Borough of Hillingdon’s contractor. So the building is weatherproof at last. Unfortunately there was a break-in in the early hours of March 9, the doors were damaged and some of our tools stolen. If you have spare garden tools you could donate to fill the gap, please contact the Secretary.
Towards a Lottery bid. LB Hillingdon has shown great faith in our group’s achievements by ring-fencing £25k to fund a Feasibility Study, the first step towards a Heritage Lottery Fund grant application. It has been declared a Hillingdon Improvement Project, for the buildings and park. Winning a Lottery grant will be a long and complicated job but success could mean wonderful enhancements, of benefit to the whole community. A Steering Group has been set up and the Friends are well represented on it. We hope you will be able to help us – more details in due course.
CRANFORD PARK EVENTS 2014 All events except *are free. Address: The
Parkway (A312), Hounslow, TW5 9RZ.
Sunday 13 April, 10am – 12 noon. Secret Garden Opening & Volunteering. Help us prepare the garden for summer. Refreshments will be served to volunteers. The garden will open at the same time on the second Sunday of each month (11 May, 8 June etc.). The entrance is adjacent to the stable courtyard.
Saturday 26 April, 11am. Bluebell Walk. Join Countryside & Conservation Officer Alison Shipley for a guided walk through the bluebell woods. Meet at information centre.
Sunday May 11, 10am -12 noon. *Secret Garden Opening & Volunteering. *See above.
Saturday May 17, 11am. ‘Knights, Earls & Ghosts’ History Tour. A 90-minute guided history walk around Cranford Park. Meet at information centre.
Thursday May 22, 7.30pm. Cranford Park Friends’ Quarterly Meeting. Crane Community Centre, Fuller Way, Harlington (off Cranford Drive, bus E6). All welcome.
Sunday June 8, 10am -12 noon. *Secret Garden Opening & Volunteering/Balsam Bash. *See above. On the river we join the River Crane-wide event removing Himalayan Balsam, a highly invasive plant along the river. Please wear long trousers and long sleeve shirts.
Sunday June 22, 11am – 4pm. Grand Union Canal Boat Trip on the Elsdale. *(Members of *Cranford Park Friends and families only; booking essential). Departs from and returns to Packet Boat Marina, Packet Boat Lane, Cowley UB8 2JJ. A leisurely cruise and social event for members and their families. Free (donation of £3 suggested). Please bring a packed lunch. Licensed bar also serving hot and soft drinks. On-board toilets. Includes short talk on canal history, and local wildlife. Places limited, please book with Dhush Selvarajah, tel. 077180 43105, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday June 28, 11am. Butterfly Walk. Join the Countryside & Conservation Officer for a guided walk looking at the many species of
butterfly found in Cranford Park. Meet at information centre.
Saturday August 2. Cranford Park Remembers. A friendly day for all the family with a medieval encampment, a memory wall where you can leave your park memories, activities for kiddies and more. The 18th century Stables and St. Dunstan’s Church will be open; tea garden refreshments. Details to follow nearer the date. Volunteers will be needed well in advance.
Saturday/Sunday September 20 and 21.* Open House London 2014.* Cranford Stables & Secret Garden and St Dunstan’s Church open. Members of the Friends’ History & Conservation working party will be in attendance.
Saturday/Sunday September 27 and 28, 3pm. *W*heat to War 1780-1918.*Celebrate local life in this hour-long outdoor spectacular
for the whole family. Outline Theatre performs popular songs, dance and drama. A moving tribute to our local Great War Heroes, marking the centenary of World War I. Tickets £4 or 4 for £14, Under 5′s free; book online at www.outlinetheatre.co.uk. Box Office, tel. 01895 851936.
Posted: March 20th, 2014 | Author: Musicraft | Filed under: Events | Tags: access to land, activism, birthday, climate change, community, direct action, resistance, sipson, Squatting, sustainability, transition | No Comments »
Credits to Community Food Growers Network for this report and photos
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
Posted: February 28th, 2014 | Author: Holly | Filed under: Gardening Club, Growing Group, Uncategorized | Tags: access to land, garden, growing, sustainability | No Comments »
Come and learn how to grow abundant and healthy fruit and vegetables in an organic way at the Community Market Garden GrowHeathrow this spring!
What? This course is for those who want to gain basic horticultural skills, build knowledge and confidence of organic foodgrowing within a community garden context or at home in your garden. Designed to build basic and technical skills through a combination of practical training within the Grow Heathrow growing space along side supported theory sessions on these methods of growing.
Running through 5 sessions from March – July 2014; 10am-4pm Lunch provided. One Sunday a month confirmed dates;
- 16th March
- 20th April
- 18th May
- 15th June
- 20th July
Where? Grow Heathrow site with potential trips to local allotment and growing sites. Site address; Grow Heathrow, Vineries Close, Sipson, West Drayton, UB7 0JH
Course Content that will be covered over the 5 sessions:
- 1. Planning a Growing Space; Organic vegetable garden design techniques including site and location, crop rotation and companion planting.
- 2. Soil Care; study of different soils, and soil cultivation techniques; a look at composting, mulching and green manures for soil care.
- 3. Propagation; Indoor seed sowing techniques, and how to prepare ground for sowing and planting. seedling aftercare
- 4. Seasonal garden maintenance; specific techniques for vegetable and fruit production. organic weed management, home made organic fertilisers, appropriate tool -use and ongoing care.
- 5. Inviting Wildlife; enhance biodiversity in the garden to help with pest and disease management. Basic plant identification
Suggested donation for the full 5 sessions £30 for food and printing costs (open to sliding scale donations according to what people can afford, contact for more information)
Each session will build on the previous ones so commitment and attendance for the full course is required. Drop-in gardeners are welcome at our Growing Sundays, the ‘Introduction to Gardening’ course is for people who can attend all sessions.
Spaces are limited, please send confirmation by the 9th March. We’d especially like to hear from people living in the local area and who’ve been involved with GH in the past, but all are welcome. Get in touch with any questions or come to Grow Heathrow’s 4th Birthday on Saturday 1st March, you can speak to someone in the Growing Space and have a look around the site.
We’re really excited to be able to offer this course, we look forward to hearing from you!
Contact: Aimee Lormand, 07592945249 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: February 25th, 2014 | Author: Musicraft | Filed under: Education, Events | Tags: community, Residents, resistance, sustainability, transition | No Comments »
Last week the local community cafe, ‘Com.cafe’ came to Grow Heathrow for a fun day out.
There were games, foraging leaves, arts, music, lots of muddy shoes and learning lots of new things.
Have a look at the pictures and watch this space for future events
Posted: January 11th, 2014 | Author: Musicraft | Filed under: Events | Tags: access to land, activism, art, community, direct action, Festival, Residents, resistance, Squatting, sustainability, transition | No Comments »
* SAVE THE DATE: 4TH BIRTHDAY PARTY, Saturday 1st March *
The past year has been filled with more growing, renewable energy, sustainable building, and much more. 2014 will see us in to our 4th Birthday celebration at Grow Heathrow… (Yes, get ready)
Saturday 1st March from 1pm at Grow Heathrow. Plus Pre-Birthday performance, ‘Three Acres and a Cow’ Land Rights Performance, Friday 28th February from 5pm at Grow Heathrow
We’re breaking last year’s record of over 100 pizzas in our wood-fired clay oven, with a bigger feast, more face painting, seed sowing, arts, more live music and of course the famous bike-powered sound system. Bring your friends and family, and come on down…
Plus, check out our legal update here and come down to site to check out some of our 2013 additions such as the finished straw bale house, artistic totem pole, the new gasifying wood burner and help us kick off our 5th year with a bang.
See you there!
More info and address/directions here:
Posted: December 19th, 2013 | Author: Freddy | Filed under: Cool Projects | Tags: climate change, sustainability | No Comments »
Recently some Grow Heathrow residents paid a visit to a small scale farmer in South Wales to see what he’s been doing in the way of reversing the cycle of releasing carbon into the atmosphere by actually locking into the ground.
The first thing you see when you get there is his teeming one acre no dig annual vegetable plot. He combines alleys of perennials, including trees, with annual crops grown on 100metre long raised beds. The tree roots go deep into the soil, retrieving otherwise ‘lost’ nutrients. They also encourage symbiotic fungae which remain present when the annuals have been harvested. The trees will provide food crops and fuel for his biochar producing stove systems.
Just beyond the no dig agro-forestry garden is another field, currently grazed by horses with a small orchard forest garden and two poly-tunnels at the southern side. He plans to plant this field as a larger forest garden with willow and hazel coppice and other food and fuel tree crops which will also increase carbon draw down. These trees will be planted on the berm (the downhill side) of swales (water retaining landscapes) and it is hoped that, through creating these wetlands, some of the carbon drawn down by the trees will be stabilised in the soil.
In his home and in various guest and worker accommodation buildings and caravans, the heating and cooking is done using indoor wood burning stove systems which use pyrolisis rather than combustion to burn the volatile component of wood, leaving the biochar unburnt. This has the effect of stabilising much of the carbon in the wood, preventing it from readily decomposing when it is added to soil. The biochar is used on the stable floors, the chicken coop floor or added to composting organic matter in order to nutritionally activate the biochar before it is added to the soil.
Ed Revill is working towards closing the loop of his food and fuel crop cycle. More than closing the loop, he does the reverse of food and energy systems which release carbon dioxide into the sky. This he does in two ways; firstly by optimising carbon draw down through optimising plant surface areas and growth rates and secondly by stabilising some of the carbon which the plants have drawn down, making it resistant to bacterial and other decomposition and holding it in the soil. this in turn builds soil and improves soil structure.
He has been using conventional organic farming methods since 1997, using horses to ridge up the soil and hoe the weeds, but now he has turned to preserving the soil structure through using no dig raised beds which have biochar incorporated into the mulch material. The biochar helps to stabilise much of the organic matter used as the mulch through which crops are grow, saving work, conserving precious resources (the organic matter) and reducing run off and atmospheric pollution.
By adding the biochar to the mulch, the soil builds up because the biochar (which is around 95% carbon) will not readily decompose. It has a massive surface area and strong adsorptive properties which enable it to hold nutrients and encourage micro organisms such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungae (AMF) which have a symbiotic relationship with crops and which help to build soil aggregates. Biochar has been found to dramatically increase the CEC (cation exchange capacity) of soil. This enables the electrical bonding of soil components (adsorption) which further builds soil aggregates.
Tilling or disturbing the soil can disturb the symbiotic fungal networks and destroy the aggregate properties of the soil. The symbiotic fungae (AMF) also produce a form of stabilised carbon called glomalin. This carbon is given to the fungae by plants and in return the fungae bring nutrients to the plant roots. Glomalin acts to bind particles in the soil to create soil structure with strong aggregate properties, soil which retains water, nutrients and fertility and which is resistant to erosion and decomposition.
The inspiration for using biochar to build soil whilst reversing the causes of climate change came from studies of Terra Preta, (Portugese for ‘black earth’), a man made soil found in much of the Amazon basin. This soil supported a large, settled civilisation. This is an important discovery because this civilisation grew as a result of the practice of building soil through stabilising carbon in soil. This is the reverse of our ‘civilisations’ practice of burning fossil fuels and degrading soil, releasing carbon dioxide into the sky, in order to produce food and energy.
Our agro industrial system is failing. It relies on burning fossil fuels, it degrades soil, releasing soil carbon which contributes to climate change which in turn further degrades soil. It relies on land grabs, deforestation and transgenic technologies. If we continue to discourage small scale, soil building, climate change reversing systems of food and energy production through the massive tax payer subsidies to the fossil fuel and agro industrial corporations and through buying food and energy from corporations which destroy soil, burn oil and pollute the Earth then we will inevitably continue to destroy the biosphere.
Inspired by this form of agriculture, some residents at Grow Heathrow have added these tools to it’s array of features, and is producing biochar using a gassifying wood burner and adding it to the mulch. We also have a new willow coppice for the production of fuel to be used in it, as well as drawing carbon out of the atmosphere. Come visit to see how the system works.
To find out more and to see plans for making biochar producing stoves please visit www.soil-carbon-regeneration.co.uk
Posted: November 25th, 2013 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Residents | Tags: sustainability | No Comments »
We only have bikes.
If you have a van, we’d love to be able to use it for a day or two to get waste slabwood from a local sawmill to build a new compost loo as our current one is filling up ominously. If we manage to get hold of one, we’re hoping to also pick up a wood-burning Rayburn/AGA stove that will help us move away from using fossil fuels to cook with.
Posted: November 19th, 2013 | Author: Freddy | Filed under: Art, Cool Projects, Education | Tags: access to land, climate change, eco building, education, Geodomes, projects, Squatting, sustainability, sustainable technology, transition, workshop | No Comments »
Come and help build a 17 foot (5.1816m)! Geodome at Grow Heathrow. The workshop will run for a week from Friday 6th Dec.
We’ll be using a unique design that innovates the geodome structure for ease of assembly. This design incorporates a new star connection method that enables just one person to construct. Laying out the cover over the stars means that the cover will be already in place as the geodome is erected. Possibly included in the course will be waterproof seam sewing techniques and dome canvas sewing if we have time. The course will be limited in numbers to 4 persons each day so please email in advance to let us know your availability and interest so we can maximise participants.
Geodomes are based on triangular geometry and were popularised by Buckmeister Fuller. They are predominantly used for earthquake relief due to their intrinsic strength at intersecting joints, this makes it an ideal solution for earthships, which this model is intended.
We will be using recycled metal poles from the dilapidated greenhouses we have on site. Geodomes are one of the most versatile structures available; they are scalable and can be made into any size you wish, you can use all sorts of materials available, and can be used for all sorts of applications, and they can also be joined together.
We will be using a 3V design, which means it has 3 different size pole lengths. It also has the option of a 4/9 or 5/9 variant, which alows the dome to have 2 different heights, either less than or bigger than half a sphere.
Hope to see you budding eco builders on the week of the 6th.
Posted: August 15th, 2013 | Author: Lizzie | Filed under: Cool Projects, Education, Events | Tags: community, cycling, energy, P.E.D.A.L, sustainability | No Comments »
Grow Heathrow is looking for bike mechanics to help run our weekly bike workshop. It’s just a few hours in the afternoon. We can move the day of the workshop to a day that suits you best. Please contact us or drop by if you or anyone you know is interested.
Also any donations of allen bolts would be wonderful, as we’re quite low
Posted: May 25th, 2013 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Action, Energy, Events | Tags: activism, climate camp, climate change, direct action, energy, no dash for gas, resistance, sustainability | No Comments »
Is Climate Camp back?
Big decisions are being made now about how we’re going to power the UK. The government’s policy of increasing our reliance on gas is pushing millions into fuel poverty. This – coupled with ruthless cuts to essential services – leaves many with an impossible choice between heating and eating. And the same policy guarantees that we’ll miss even our modest carbon reduction targets. Both the financial and the climate crises are related to the pursuit of profit above all else, in the interests of the few and at the expense of the many.
We need a win. And one win we need is a secure future for generations to come, where profits don’t trump the public interest and where we have safe, clean energy to meet our needs.
Be part of creating something BIG this summer, get involved now and Reclaim The Power.
We can fight back, as the student, trade union, women’s, disabled rights and anti-cuts movements have shown us. There has never been a more critical time to take action. The solutions are there to be grasped.
21 people went up two chimneys but 64,000 came down
Last October, 21 environmental activists shut down EDF’s West Burton power station for a week in protest at the government’s Dash for Gas. West Burton is the first of up to 40 new gas fired power stations being planned. With your help, including a solidarity petition signed by 64,000 people – they fought off EDF’s attempt to sue them for £5 million.
This summer, inspired by their action, we are building a wide coalition of groups and individuals who will be coming together to Reclaim the Power. We’ll plan together. We’ll put forward solutions. We’ll cross the border from anger to action. It was people power that stopped new coal and stalled plans for a third runway at Heathrow, that made bankers’ greed and tax avoidance toxic and that is now fighting austerity attacks on workers, women, pensioners and the disabled. Together, we will stop the dash for gas.
Want to be part of creating Reclaim The Power? Wondering where we’ll be, how you can get there or what you need to bring? More info to come soon, keep up to date at: