Getting Involved with Growing Spaces

In late November, fourteen of us met to discuss projects we could in the Growing Spaces theme (see previous blogs and

We felt it was a pretty positive meeting with lots of enthusiasm to do something in New Mills to make our food more local, fresher, healthier and more sustainable.

This blog isn’t an attempt to recant all that was said (you really had to be there!). Instead, we like to think of it as a call to arms to get involved.

We came up with five distinct projects we felt could work as a starting point. We’d like you to vote for your favourite ones by commenting on this blog. But there’s a catch! We’d like you only to vote if you are prepared to help make the project happen. It would also help if you based your votes on whether you think the project is doable, how much of an impact it might make and how well it meets the objectives of sustainable local food production.

We’ll be having a follow-up meeting in January to take this forward – we’ll let you know the details soon.

Possible Projects

  1. Establish a shared communal allotment(s)
  2. Promote growing food in small containers. For example, give Housing Association residents window boxes, some compost, some seeds, a trowel and simple instructions to grow, say, a selection of salad vegetables
  3. Extend a Garden Buddies scheme (which is already running but is quite small in reach). This would, for example, match an older person who has a garden and expertise but who is now too infirm to work it with someone who has the time and inclination to work with the landowner to grow food. Both parties share the harvest
  4. Establish a programme of talks from local food growing experts
  5. Establish a knowledge sharing forum, e.g. like Gardeners’ Question time or an open discussion session. Possibly capture this expertise on video and create an online resource

Other Information

As well as the project ideas, there were a number of things that came up that may be of interest:

  • There are funds available to community groups to support projects
  • There is a waiting list of forty people for an allotment in New Mills which could represent a potential interest in growing spaces elsewhere
  • There are plans for a Horticultural Library at New Mills Library which will have reference and general books to assist.
  • There is already a collection of fruit-related books available for reference in the library, courtesy of New Mills Community Orchard
  • A food-growing event run by New Mills Allotment Society is to be held on 16 December 2013. Details to be confirmed but the event follows the very successful Seedy Sunday and Seedling Saturday events aimed at new growers
  • The Vertical Veg project ( which inspires and supports food growing in small spaces.

Special thanks go to Barry Bate who helped introduce the meeting on behalf of the Allotment Society and to Phil Frodsham, Julian Ashworth, Alex Bond, Angharad Hughes for setting the scene, leading and facilitating the meeting. And of course to all those who turned up bearing such positivity. Let’s keep it going!

Published by Michael Daw

When working for Manchester Met University, I'm responsible for facilitating strategic relationships with businesses and other external organisations. When doing Transition New Mills, I'm on the Steering Committee and facilitating the Energy Action Group.

3 thoughts on “Getting Involved with Growing Spaces

  1. Don’t understand how to vote on a blog. So my vote is for 1 communal allotment and for 5 information forum.


  2. I enjoyed the meeting in November, thanks to those who organised it.
    My vote goes for the buddies scheme. Not only does it support the growing of food but also helps to develop social relationships and community spirit.
    There are already many places on the web where information about how to grow and how to deal with gardening problems so I am not sure what we could add to that. I also feel it will be important to support what the allotment society already does, learn from the fact that open events have not been swamped in the past and therefore not try what we already know does not work.

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