Category Archives: digging for victory

Digging for Victory

The Revolution will be Grown.Walls of Woven Ivy Climb, Seed and Soil accosted; Replaced our captive ‘City’s’ Grey. A Greener Tomorrow, a brighter today!


Vision-

  • To salvage spaces, renew and revive for greener, cleaner and happier places 
  • To grow our own food and produce more locally grown edibles
  • To master the full potential of our Sheffield Allotment, let the land teach us how and where to develop
  • Combine creativity, resources and climate to find new and innovative ways to expand growing spaces upwards, downwards, left right and centre.
  • Bring the garden to the people, enable others to share the joy of gardening, planting new life, reconnecting with the outdoors and the pleasures of engaging with their natural environment
  • To establish roots within the local community, collaborate with social enterprising networks, and help to unify  resources, ideas, and manpower for other similar projects which aspire to improve access to green spaces, and opportunities to start planning new growth
  • To regenerate- Disused spaces and derelict infrastructure, could be revived and given a new lease of life with fresh purpose. Temporary pop up gardens, could be just one aspect of this!

Sheffield is a great city for green spaces, housing an eco-conscious community which fosters the creative and artistic. The social co-operative hubs and independent businesses which are budding and flourishing in the city are also very promising and positive in terms of forecasting the shape of the future to follow for Sheffield.

Sheffield would be the perfect candidate for showcasing the incredible benefits of an edible city, which encourages and nurtures urban food growing and sustainable spaces. Lets get onto this and pull our ideas together as a community to make it happen!

Upcycle– Old Doccers make for very jazzy new plantpots for the growth of Tulips, and many other things!

upcycle the red doccers into plantpots for the holland tulips


Take a look at some of the things we’ve achieved so far, and what we believe to be an assortment of treasures worth digging for…

Welcome to April!

Now that we have (finally) arrived into April again, the time for sowing and growing is defnitely becoming ripe.

Here are some things which like to be planted in April:

Food

Plant out:

Potatoes in well-prepared (i.e. dig up the bed) soil
Carrots
Beetroots
Leeks
Swiss Chard
Kohl Rabi
Peas
Turnips
Summer Cauliflower
Shallots
Onions
Garlic


It is now also an ideal time to plant pot-grown fruit trees and bushes, e.g. Gooseberry/Raspberry/Blueberry bushes

Just remember keep an eye on them, because once they start producing the fruit, the birds aren’t exactly conservative about the amount of cherries to harvest and eat on your behalf!

For more in-depth info and advice: Grow Your Own- RHS- UK


Flowers

For the bees and butterflies:

Foxgloves– They’re happy in part sun and shade. Bees and butterflies love them.
foxgloves emerge may 2015 - Copy

Hawthorns– These can grow 15-30 feet tall, so bear this in mind when planting out, because when it grows, it will cause shade (which can both good and bad, depending on what’s growing nearby)
hawthorn_2531036k

Crocuses– These are gorgeous flowers anyway, and the Saffron pollen is irresistable to bees. It also has loads of health benefits as a herb, so you might even want to harvest some of it’s pollen for yourself!
crocuses

Cerinthe– These are a personal favourite of mine, because they’re so rich in colour, and beautiful. Sow either straight out, or in seed trays indoors first, and then transplant the seedlings into the chosen flowerbed once they’re strong enough.
beautiful cerinthe flowers

Buddleja (butterfly bush)- The bees and the butterflies both absolutely love this bush, and it smells absolutely gorgeous too. If you want to see a lot of butterflies this year, plant this out!
bee and the butterfly loving their Budlhia


More flowers:

Forget-me-nots
Wildflower mixes
Poppies
Dahlias
Anemones
Dutch Iris
Gladioli
Feverfew
Pansies

In summary:
Basically, just go and buy yourself some seeds, mix and match whatever you want, and the advice about how to grow said seeds into bloom will be on the back of the packet anyway. This way, you can choose visually what kind of colours and shapes you want in your garden landscape for yourself, and all you need to do is sow them!

April Showers Galore!

This April has been wonderful for plant growth (including weeds of course!). In particular, the Tulips, some of which are from Holland and others gathered from various Sheffield dealers, are growing exceptionally well!

I’m really pleased with the height some of the Tulips have achieved for themselves: many of the bulbs have returned from the previous year, and some were planted new in about January this year. The April Showers have caused the window box Tulips, in particular, the thrive. They have grown outside from bulb, and been subject to some pretty challenging winds here in Sheffield. It seems to have been good for them, though!


The cat’s posing next to the window box Tulips (above) is just a coincidence of cat vanity and her own shy love of Tulips.


 

tulips in window box 26 april 2016

Photo taken: 20/04/2016

Protect your right to grow your own!

Please sign this:

stop closing allotments petition 38degrees.org.uk

Why this is important:

“There is a growing community of allotmenteers, who, driven by need, have taken to cultivating their own crops.
Some people have spent years to transform what was essentially waste land into arable soil, and have often spent a considerable amount of time and money in order to reap the benefits of home grown organic fruit & vegetables.
Recently, we have heard of numerous councils serving notices that they are reclaiming these valuable resources to convert into building land.
In many cases, allotments are utilised as a way of not only growing food, but also as a way of keeping fit (something that the government is keen to promote!), so it makes no sense, other than to reap financial rewards, to close them.
Whilst there are waiting list of several years to secure a plot, it is obvious that this is a popular, and worthwhile, leisure facility.
Please take action to stop this practise now, before it is too late to stop the rot!!!
In these times of austerity and obesity, allotmenteering is a way to grow healthy produce, and to reap the rewards of an outdoor activity which also promotes physical fitness.”
(From petition page; see link at top)

The Allotments Act of 1925  established statutory allotments which local authorities could not sell off or covert without Ministerial consent, known as Section 8 Orders.

Despite the statutory obligation on local authorities to provide allotments where there is a demand, there are still very few sites being created each year. However the trend in people wanting to grow their own food is on the rise, and currently it is estimated that over 90,000 gardeners want an allotment and are on waiting lists.

Today, with our economic uncertainly on a global scale, the desire for more space to grow food locally and experience life’s simple pleasures has reignited the call for more allotments. Figures suggest there are approximately 330,000 allotment plots in the UK, but to meet the current demand we need in the region of at least a further 90,000 plots.

I’ll add to this the fact that it would be incredibly ignoble and downright unpatriotic for British Councils to enforce such a compromise over access to sufficient land for people to grow their own food, particularly in hindsight of the historical ‘Dig For Victory’ movement which saw Britain manage to survive through periods of wartime food shortage. At end of the First World War, land was made available to all, primarily as a way of assisting returning service men (Land Settlement Facilities Act 1919) instead of just the labouring poor.

What on Earth would we have to gain by receding to an era, which demanded that laws be established in order to protect our rights to grow food for the good of the nation?

the-good-life-one

Pocket Parks and why I want them for Sheffield Ski Village

inspiration from incredible edible facebook page Dunstable

Imagine this…

 


 Pocket Parks 

The Department for Communities and Local Government is providing a £1.5 million fund to support the development of up to 100 pocket parks by communities in urban areas. This funding will help put communities and their partners in a position to take on the management of green spaces of value to them; and contribute resource towards turning around spaces so that they are in good condition and communities can focus on managing them for the future.

What is a pocket park?

Pocket parks are small areas of inviting public space where people can enjoy relief from the hustle and bustle of city streets. Pocket parks – locally identified, smaller areas of green space ultra-local to where people live and work – can provide well-being opportunities, as well as helping to improve community integration, community pride and social action, especially where communities are involved in the upkeep and development decisions of such a park.

 

Continue reading Pocket Parks and why I want them for Sheffield Ski Village

Rainbows are free

Rainbow: bow or arc of prismatic colors appearing in the heavens opposite the sun and caused by the refraction and reflection of the sun’s rays in drops of rain.

I stumbled upon some writing about the emergence of a wonderful, off-grid, alternative and ultimately natural, human gatherings of a ‘Rainbow Family’ or ‘Rainbow Warriors’-Whichever you prefer to call the collective movement. Here is the low down:

‘In the isolation of the woods gather tribes of the miscellaneous and open-minded. From gays, punks, Christians, sectarians, nudists and Krishna followers, to Nomads and conspiracy theorists, like a vivid palate of paint; they meet at the annual Rainbow Gathering.

30,000 people attended the largest Rainbow Gathering in history, which took place in Washington State in a publicly-owned national forest. When this large, rainbow gatherings become something like a micro society; a utopian city that even has neighborhoods, where everyone is welcome.’ (Source:Rainbow gatherings)

b8f6

Philosophy:

When the earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, classes, creeds, and who by their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again. They will be known as the warriors of the Rainbow — Old Native American Prophecy


 

What is the Rainbow Family ?

“Some say we’re the largest non-organization of non-members in the world. We have no leaders, and no organization. To be honest, the Rainbow Family means different things to different people. I think it’s safe to say we’re into intentional community building, non-violence, and alternative lifestyles.

We also believe that Peace and Love are a great thing, and there isn’t enough of that in this world. Many of our traditions are based on Native American traditions, and we have a strong orientation to take care of the the Earth. We gather in the National Forests yearly to pray for peace on this planet.”

(Source: Welcome Home Rainbow Living website- About)

 


Why I find this worth blogging about:

Participants widely believe that the modern lifestyles and systems of government are unsustainable, exploitative, and out of harmony with the natural systems of the planet. The rainbow family is an expression of Utopian impulse.

I am personally convinced that the way we live now, that is- humans in the modern society of Westernized culture in particular- is not only disharmonic, rasping and stressful. It is also dangerously out of tune with the way the human mind and body is programmed to survive and thrive. We are by nature social beings. We are by nature, part of nature itself; and this means we should by no means fall under the oppressive fallacy, that we are agents without choice, and we MUST work as essential slaves to generate profits for faceless organisations, day in, day out, without being free to choose otherwise, because money is the trap which keeps us dependent upon ‘earning a living’; in order to keep ourselves fed, sheltered, existing by record and name- and therefore with ‘identity’.

A person once shared some valuable insight with me, when I was going through a period of mental strain and precarious balancing between the state of breakdown, and the illusion of ‘sanity’ and ‘sound mind’. She told me that one of the reasons regular bouts of intense exercise, and outdoor venturing, was so fundamental to maintaining a healthy frame of mind, body and function, was because of how we are by nature and evolution, programmed and hardwired to respond to stress triggers. So as many know, stress causes an increase of Adrenaline pumping through the body, muscles and blood, because a stressor would naturally indicate it was time for ‘fight or flight’. A perfectly reasonable and effective reaction which has enabled humans to survive and evolve to their current state.

However, the way we live now (in the Western world) doesn’t usually necessitate fighting off predators, or fleeing for your life on a daily basis. The hardwired cognitive response to stressful and challenging situations, however; for example in the workplace, meeting deadlines, managing debt,  bullying, discrimination and demoralizing conduct etc.,  is still well and truly active as it ever was before, and so despite the different nature of the stressor itself, the physiological response to the stress remains the same. Adrenaline levels surge, producing anxiety, panic, sweaty palms, raised heartbeat and general discomfort.

The problem is, all this discomfort would once have had a productive outlet; the fighting off of the stressor, or the sprint for your life, heightened sensitivity to detect the nearness of the threat. Now, the stress will often occur sitting in an office, getting a bollocking in a meeting at work, being stuck in traffic, being panicked by financial problems, debt, social and relationship  conflicts, etc. What is the missing ingredient to the new type of stress and response?

It is the utilization of the excess adrenaline. Without burning it out, by exercise and exertion, or even just walking and dancing, the balance of these neurotransmitters in the brain (and therefore body) is not reset. This is one of the things which leads to stress and anxiety as a more Chronic condition nowadays, and a huge contributing factor to increased levels of mental health illness, physical illness, and distorted thinking which inevitable leads to the paranoid, unhappy, anxious and easily rattled social circumstances which make up societies which seem plagued by distrust, unease, violence and intolerance.


 

The modern world seems to me to be the beginning of the end of human social well-being, health and prosperity. It is nature and gatherings within nature, which we need to return to, in order to regain our understanding of what it is to be human, and what it feels like to live beyond the cage.

This brings me back to the main point of interest which triggered this post: Rainbow Family Gatherings, as one of many off-grid, eco friendly and nature driven alternatives to the crush of the way human societies have come to exist in an insidiously oppressive form. 

Rainbow Warriors, and their open to everyone gatherings, offer a means of escaping the trap. Within the community of like-minded people that practice the ideals of peace, love, respect, harmony and freedom. Participants widely believe that the modern lifestyles and systems of government are unsustainable, exploitative, and out of harmony with the natural systems of the planet. The rainbow family is an expression of Utopian impulse with an added touch of bohemianism and hippy culture, which refer to mainstream society as “Babylon” and consciously express an alternative to consumerism, capitalism, and mass media. These gatherings happen annually all over the world, and have proven a durable phenomenon for over 40 years.

They wake up with the sun, and several sacred ceremonies begin to take place. There are discussion circles where all ideologies and beliefs coexist in harmony.


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It is worth checking out more about alternative living technologies, communities and eco-conscious movements. Check out Rob Savoye’s (A Rainbow Focalizer) home page here for more information and resources about how to get involved:

welcomehome.org/rob/alt-tech

Another few sites worth checking out:

 

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Sheffield Ski Village Regeneration Project

sheffield ski village project landsape photoView over Sheffield from the slopes of the old Ski Village

About

Regeneration of Sheffield Ski village: plan is not to take up or hinder any efforts to restore the old ski village, or any additional leisure hub plans. This edible park/commnity grow space plan; seeks to assist with the revival, because we can upcycle a lot of the debris into flower/vegetable beds, plant trees, create art and sculptures, jazzy benches etc.

It’s also to be a family friendly park, and the plan has been put forward that we only need approx 700 sq metres to achieve the edible park, bearing in mind the entire ski village alltogether is approx. 10,000 sq metres! Please help me to use this opportunity to create something additional and positive from the devestating arson attack… This would be MUCH better than MORE HOUSES- which is a fate which could afflict the land if it is left much longer in dispute and stagnation due to problems with communication between SCC and the leaseholder of the land upon which the Ski Village once stood proud and untarnished…

Story so far:

Using my Facebook page; Dig for Victory- grow, revive, upcycle and thrive, I launced a campaign in March 2014, with the intention of gaining support and/or interest in the future of the old Ski Village derelict space.

I launched a crowdfunding page to help raise £2,000 to Create Sheffield Edible Park- a new community green space in which people could come together to help regenerate the soil from the arson attack ash, and upcycle the debris creatively, into new structures and growing spaces.

See the page here:

See the Facebook page: Dig for victory- grow, revive, upcycle and thrive

From the page post about this project:

“We’re raising money to Create Sheffield Edible Park growing space because Ski Village remains derelict and needs revival. Support this project on Yimby by…
JUSTGIVING.COM

Although fundraising target was never reached on this project via Just Giving, would anyone still be interested in continuing efforts towards the aim of utilizing and regenerating Sheffield Ski Village as the edible park/green space?

Please comment or message me to register your interest!”

A sample of the Ski Village Project images