Billericay Community Garden Open Day

Saturday 20th January – 9.30am – 2.30pm.
Billericay Community Garden, Church View, CM12 9LD Billericay, Essex

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/146656849445870/

Hosted by Billericay Community Garden: https://www.facebook.com/billericaycommunitygarden/

A chance to meet up with our volunteers, have a guided tour around the garden, stay and enjoy, even join in with the day’s jobs to do list – look forward to seeing some old and new faces. All welcome, please call in and say hi, we can also offer a brew coffee or tea:)

If you’re involved in setting up a community garden, we strongly recommend that you get along to this event to learn from the experience of the Billericay Community Garden team in getting as far as they have and the lessons they have learned along the way. We were involved in a few of the working sessions in the early days back in 2014/15 and can testify that they have created something quite amazing from the overgrown, rubbish strewn patch of land they started out with…

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A return to seasonal food?

You don’t need us to tell you that the cost of food is going up. As the world becomes ever more volatile and unpredictable, the need for people to start growing their own food is becoming greater. This can be done in a variety of ways from setting up community gardens or allotments through to turning over part or even all of your back garden to growing your own fruit and vegetables. Even though the need for more self sufficiency in food is increasing, it doesn’t have to turn into a grim struggle for survival… Vegetable and fruit gardening is a healthy, enjoyable activity – even more so when it’s done communally and becomes an activity that’s sociable and increases neighbourhood cohesion.

However, as you’ll gather from the above graphic, growing your own food means a return to a seasonal diet. That’s not bad news – as you can see, there’s a fair variety that can be grown for each season. Not only that, you have the sense of anticipation when a particular food is about to come into season!

Community gardening in Pitsea

We saw this on the Heart of Pitsea Facebook page and as we’re big fans of community food gardens, we thought we’d share it…

If you fancy getting outside and meeting up with our lovely Incredible Edible gardening volunteers, then you are welcome to join them tomorrow (Tuesday 5.9) morning 10am at our community gardening plot at Mill Green. Equipment is provided, you just need to wear comfy clothing and appropriate footwear. If you would like more info call 07572 001671.

Here’s a map showing where Mill Green is – https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.5726501,0.4999086,17z

Get digging!

Type ‘Brexit and food security’ into a search engine and you’ll come up with a slew of articles warning about significantly higher food prices, crops not being harvested because there isn’t the labour to undertake the task and last but by no means least, the distinct possibility of food production standards being lowered. This piece is just one example of what we found: Brexit about to trigger sky-high costs for British food industryhttp://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2017/05/02/brexit-about-to-trigger-sky-high-costs-for-british-food

Now we don’t want to come across as ‘Remoaners’ complaining about the impact of Brexit – as anarchists, we’re on record as having a pox on all your houses attitude towards the issue: A few thoughts on Brexit…https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/03/29/a-few-thoughts-on-brexit/ However, if those eager to pull the UK out of the EU had undertaken some planning for life outside rather than relying on blind faith that things will work out okay in the end, we may not be facing a future of soaring food prices and disruptions to supply…

A tanking sterling has already started to force food prices to go up. If the UK ends up crashing out of the EU without any deal, tariffs on imported food from the EU will send prices soaring. Then there’s the question of the labour needed to get the food from the field to our plates. The stark fact is that much of this is undertaken by migrant labour from the EU. Already, there has been a decline in migration from the EU as potential migrants are being put off by what they feel will be a hostile welcome. If inward migration is cut to the levels the likes of UKIP and hard right Tories have been screaming for, we could face a situation where crops will be left to rot in the fields because there will be no-one to pick them. The jury is still out on this one but in a post Brexit UK where food prices are going through the roof, there may be a temptation to ease up on some hygiene and safety regulations relating to home produced and imported foodstuffs in a bid to keep prices down and stave off domestic discontent.

As the title of this piece suggests, there’s a solution…get digging! We’re not suggesting a patriotic ‘dig for victory’ drive – we’re anarchists and we don’t do patriotism or nationalism. What we are suggesting is making a start on building community resilience to deal with the shite that’s likely to come if we continue to rely on clueless politicians to negotiate the complexities of a Brexit no one seems to have any plans for or idea of how it’s going to pan out. One aspect of community resilience is localising as much food production as possible down to neighbourhood level.

We’re talking about things like turning your back garden over to growing your own. If you can get hold of an allotment, do so: Allotments going begging – get one while you can!https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/02/23/allotments-going-begging-get-one-while-you-can/ If you feel a plot may be too big to handle on your own, team up with friends and neighbours to work it and share the produce equitably. If you can, find a plot to start a community garden. It’s not always necessary to ask permission – we’ve seen guerilla gardened plots that have been going for a good few years without any unwanted attention from the authorities!

Obviously, it’s better if food growing can be done as a neighbourhood project. Working together growing food and sharing the produce helps to build friendships and goes a long way to generating the community solidarity that will be vital in the troubled times ahead. Localising food production in this way with the solidarity it generates, not only gives you more control over where your food comes from, it’s empowering people to start taking more responsibility for, and control over, the neighbourhoods they live in. Also, growing food in this way is healthier, not just because of the fresh air and exercise involved but also because you have complete control over the inputs. Once a community feels empowered enough to start taking control of their food supply, that could lead to some interesting developments in the fight for a more just, equitable, sane and sustainable world…

Unsure how to make a start? Below is a list of resources which have loads of useful information on community gardening that can be done in a healthy and sustainable way – get reading!

Resources

Billericay Community Garden – https://www.facebook.com/billericaycommunitygarden/
Empty Cages Design – http://www.emptycagesdesign.org/
South East Essex Organic Gardeners – http://seeog.org.uk/
Southend In Transition Community Allotment – https://www.facebook.com/SiTcommunityAllotment/
Spiralseed – http://spiralseed.co.uk/