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

A memory shared

From 24th April, 2014

emma

On Tuesday, we said our goodbyes to a wonderful, awe-inspiring, beautiful friend, Emma Twigg. Her soil was dusted in glitter, and the land under which her body lies will bring new life to a tree, among many others. The memorial woodland is a forest (will be) of souls embarking upon new journeys in another life. You could liken it to C.S Lewis’ ‘Wood Between The Worlds’, or a train station of trees- the branches intertwining and linking together like a vast network of railway tracks, where the souls can commute to new destinations, yet always have a base. Unlike most train stations, however; this one is obviously divine and beyond comparison to anything we really know. While her funeral was inevitably filled with immense sadness, it was comforting to see just how many amazing friends and family members gathered bravely to bid farewell to Emma- in a way the multitude of vibrant and colourful crowd, conveyed a reflection of the flamboyant, kind and brave individual she was herself. Let us all commit ourselves to ‘dance in the rain’ through storms to come- it brings an unexpected euphoria of freedom and the shimmer of the wildness within ourselves, for those who haven’t already danced in the rain yet…


Every now and then in life, we meet a soul who is truly wonderful and like no other in many ways. Emma Twigg– the first time I ever met you I was drawn to you with a powerful intruige, admiration and electrical energy. You have taught me personally a great deal through inspiring a kind of outlook upon all things, and a lust for living to the full, and to dance to my own rhythm of madness, sadness and gladness just as you yourself did so freely and beautifully. I find it really bloody hard to sum this up over a facebook post you won’t necessarily see yourself- but who other people who’ve had the great priviledge of knowing you will surely be able to relate to and recognise within their own memories. So I write this for them- You my lady are so obviously deeply and vastly loved by so many other souls than just me, and our reasons are diverse in their contexts but so consistent in their content- We love in you the magic, the kindness, the adventure, the energy, the compassion, the taste and the rhythm to which you have always loved to dance, and the inexplicably bright spark burning within your soul which i’m sure has inspired many others to seek for in themselves. Right now, i’m putting a lot of focus into planting new life where I can, and eventually a few of us are hoping to get an Ash Tree (you said you really liked these!) planted somewhere for you as promised- somewhere many of us can come and dance under it in your memory, and contemplate where your soul is going now- what life it will become this time and what kind of new experiences will it bring and receive? Maybe you’d be a tree this time anyway- since in the life we knew you in you travelled so far and wide, and perhaps your soul may now be seeking to settle as a new form, existing in one place for some time. Who on Earth knows though- we cannot predict; all we can do is positively continue to cherish and to actively plant your memory around us in a way that even when we too are moving on from this life, it will remain consistent in one way for the Earth and it’s creatures. Like, for example- i’m sure eventually many a bird may appreciate your tree as a nest and a place in which they can hatch new life into the world, then watch with a kind of sad, proud joy as their young eventually learn to fly off from the twiggs (sorry about that silly pun thing) into new adventures of their own as they take to the skies. I do not know where to end this post, for fear of ending up writing an actual novel, so i’m going to make the decision to stop it here; for there is too much to be said of you and I will not be able to do it justice no matter how long I write. Don’t ‘rest in peace’-live on elsewhere (wherever this may be) and continue to being peace! You can rest too if you like obviously, but you get my meaning! Keep on dancing.

 

me and emma at smiling ivy party

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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This is promising

Promising ideas to bring forth ideas for improving and expanding upon our city’s urban greenscapes, sustainable and overwhelmingly positive green city of Sheffield! Proposals include two massive biodomes at Parkwood Springs MTB trail, increased dirve towards bringing allotment and growing spaces to a wider range of the Sheffield community… In all, green, sustainable, adaptable and innovative moves in the right direction for revolutionizing the way Sheffield businesses, urban development projects and economic revival can take root and thrive!

Its Allot to take in, Article by Sheffield Star

Read more: http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/your-say/it-s-allot-to-take-in-1-4836621#ixzz44lUa1V8I

In short, this is the gist:

  • A new exhibition showcasing 50 ways of improving Sheffield – from two massive biodomes at Parkwood Springs to an aerial walkway through Endcliffe Park
  • Proposals include creating an urban allotment in Charter Square, transforming Rockingham Street Car Park into a drive-through cinema, and turning part of the Porter Brook into a swimming and watersport facility
  • The proposals are the results of more than a decade’s worth of course work carried out by architecture, landscape and urban design students at Sheffield University.Each year, scholars are asked to come up with fully costed and planned-out designs which could, in theory, improve the city’s built environment.
  • The exhibition will be held as part of the upcoming Festival Of The Mind, an extravaganza of art and science events being run at venues across the city in September.

The ideas put forward by the students and scholars at Sheffield University, which will be showcased during this year’s upcoming Festival Of The Mind; ‘Fifty Ideas For A Better Sheffield runs at CADS art complex in Smithfields from September 20 – 30. Entry free.’
Some of the comments in the Star’s article hint at a troubling underbelly of pessimism (or realism, call it what you will), which comes across in a somewhat skeptical tone as told by Ivan, 24, who is running the project through the Shalesmoor, Kelham Island and Neepsend Network development agency which he manages; “The trouble is once the course work is finished, it’s marked, put in a drawer and no-one ever thinks about it again.”

However, an obvious mind for practical solutions to realistic obstacles drives his reasoning behind deciding to invite a much wider audience to take a look at these project ideas and discuss, and indeed there will be an abundant supply of useful, inspiring and thought provoking information on offer at the exhibition. Ivan has concluded: “This exhibition isn’t just a mine of ideas, it’s a mine of information as well.”


 

One reason I know I will be attending, is to gather ideas and invite feedback about how some of the showcased proposals can inform and help shape the future for my own aspirations about restoring Sheffield Ski Village, by turning parts of it into an ‘edible park’, community hub of leisure which can and should be laced with gardening and green spaces.

I know that here in Sheffield, We all cherished the spirit and communal joy Sheffield Ski Village once brought to our city for folk to enjoy, and likewise, we still take great pride in being called ‘the greenest city in Europe’… What is NOT valuable and equitable about a city determined to fight to remain Green, Socially Innovative and Creative?

 

 

 

 

Succubus

I forgot about how satisfying this word is to roll off the tongue, however it is an absolute shame that I have just discovered the definition. So I had just assumed that a ‘Succubus’ was another name for a ‘Succulent’ plant. ‘Succulents’, in an omnibus format. That was my mental association and the visual imagery, let me assure you, is quite different to that of a ‘demon in female form, said to have sexual intercourse with men in their sleep.’

Oh right. So a Succubus is NOT a mass gathering of exotic Succulent varieties; Sedum Cauticolum, Aeonium, Stapella and all their glorious, colourful tones, shapes and forms. The Succulent Omnibus I had unwittingly envisioned in my mind’s eye, for referencing ‘Succubus’…. No one ever told me otherwise, and neither did I ask to be fair.

 

Well you know what, Succubus is still just as satisfying a word.

 

 

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

 

 

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