Carrot City Designing for Urban Agriculture

Grow It, Eat It, Move It, Live It

Exhibit Category / Catégorie de l'expo: City

Location/Emplacement: Birmingham, UK
Dates: 2009 - 2011
Designers/Concepteurs: n/a
Clients: Birmingham City Council (Ladywood Constituency), Birmingham

More Information/Plus d'informations: n/a
Image Credits/Crédits d'images: Joe Nasr, Michael Hardman — Drawing courtesy Birmingham City Council (Ladywood Constituency)

Project Description: (version française ci-dessous)

Grow It, Eat It, Move It, Live It (GEML) was an initiative that was operated in the Ladywood Constituency, of Birmingham, UK, including some of the poorest areas of the city. Funded by Heart of Birmingham Primary Care Trust from 2009 until 2011, GEML acted as a pilot project for community food growing in Birmingham – along with other health and physical activities. The scheme brought together key players in the constituency, including voluntary groups, schools, public and private services as well as other organisations.

In the two years of the scheme, GEML supported the development of over 16 projects across the constituency. These ranged in size, from large community gardens to small, temporary sites. In each situation, GEML provided the initial resources to ‘kick-start’ the project, before eventually transferring control of the site to the local community.

One of GEML’s most notable projects is situated in Highgate, Birmingham. Previously a bland patch of grass, with the help of GEML, a women’s group converted the area into several plots for local residents, schools and groups to tend. The Stanhope Community Centre provides free lunch to local residents – and since the garden was launched, the lunches include ingredients sourced from the site itself.

While some GEML sites like Stanhope had long-term prospects, the initiative focused on developing waste land sites for use as growing spaces by local community groups even if that use was temporary. Consequently, a variety of growing means, from bags to raised beds, were applied. At Ventnor Avenue, a block of garages that had fallen into disrepair had become a magnet for antisocial behaviour. Local residents helped remove all the debris and rubbish. Given the hard landscaping of the area, large builder bags resting on pallets (to aid drainage) are used. Approximately six tons of topsoil filled up the grow bags. A training session was provided, concentrating on preparing the soil in the grow bags and teaching the local residents about the diverse types of vegetables and their timetables for seed sowing and planting.

Most of the projects continue to function as growing sites despite the fact that GEML funding is no longer available. This initiative shows how even a temporary supportive intervention by a local government can have a long-term legacy.

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Scale (Carrot City Category)


Location: City

Location: Country