Scientists at the University of Sussex are looking for growers in Brighton & Hove to help them learn more about food grown across the city.
Approximately one fifth of the world’s food is grown in urban areas, yet we know surprisingly little about how it is produced. That’s why citizen-science project, Team PollinATE, is working with growers in Brighton & Hove to collect data on which insects pollinate crops in urban areas, how much food small city growing spaces such as gardens and allotments can provide, and the most common pest control methods used by urban growers. The project has also partnered with scientists in India, who are working with urban growers in Kolkata to collect similar data and give a global view of urban food production.
The project launched in April last year, and already volunteers have collected lots of useful data. After attending a workshop on pollinator identification, throughout the summer of 2017 volunteers conducted quick pollinator counts in their growing spaces (surveying over 17, 000 flowers in total, and spotting 850 insects!), as well as keeping a diary of any pest control methods used. To help us quantify how much food people are producing across the city, some volunteers kept a record of the food they harvested, and by using our handy ‘Garden Shop Calculator’ could find out how much their produce was worth- on average volunteers grew an impressive £425 worth of food last year, with some volunteers ‘saving’ up to £900 by growing their own.
This year the project is open to anyone who grows their own food, be that in an allotment, garden, window box or community growing space. So, if you’d like to learn how to identify bees and other pollinators, why not visit our website and register yourself as a volunteer or come along to our next pollinator workshop at the BHOGG plot (11-1pm, Weald Allotments- all welcome!). You’ll receive a pack with more information on how to participate and monthly updates on the findings.
For more information, visit our website http://www.teampollinate.co.uk or email Team Pollinate co-ordinator, Beth Nicholls firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kate Harrison’s talk on Growing, Gluts and Generosity posed some interesting questions around what we as gardeners can do to take responsibility for our own food production. We discussed sowing less, sowing successively, thinning out more boldly, choosing varieties with longer harvest seasons, or growing multiple varieties to stagger production. But despite these ideas, we will still be likely to have gluts during the year. Solutions to this could be inventive recipes, food fermentation (see Kate’s fermenting article from last month), gifting to friends & family or even composting.
There were some shocking figures around food waste, yet 8.4 million people in the UK struggle to afford a meal (source: Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations).
Fortunately, many charities and organisations are working to ensure that the food waste meets the needs of those most vulnerable people struggling to afford to eat. FareShare (a national organisation) manages just 4% of the edible surplus food available, distributing food donated by supermarkets and food producers to frontline charities and community groups. Last year they provided enough food for nearly 25.8 million meals!
FareShare Sussex is based in Fairway Business Centre, Westergate Road in Moulsecoomb and is very happy to receive food donations from individuals. This means for those months when you’re grown too much there is another option: you can bag it up and drop it off to the warehouse where volunteers and staff will be genuinely glad to see you. Our community allotment volunteers delivered over a ton of apples to Fareshare in 2017.
To ensure your surplus stock is put to the best possible use, please contact:
Rachel Carless, FareShare Sussex Development Manager
Tel: 01273 671 111
Review by Jenni, and special thanks to Kate Harrison for use of her FareShare slides.
There is a wonderful line-up of speakers, with a great range of talks including practical gardening advice from Joshua the Gardener and Pennard Plants, to a panel discussion about policy and legislation around selling seeds. The full speaker programme is available here.
There is also a fantastic range of exhibitors and stall holders this year: Along with familiar favourites, we are welcoming some newcomers, such as the Old Tree Brewery, Native Hands, FareShare Sussex and the Woodland Trust.
There’ll be some great children’s activities, including making vegetable print bunting, decorating seed envelopes, and the chance to have a go on a flour grinding bicyle!
Click here for the full Seedy Sunday 2018 Programme
telling you what’s on and where. Paper copies will also be available at the event.
Seedy Sunday will also be hosting the BBC’s Gardeners’ Question Time again, with a panel of the best brains in horticulture: Eric Robson, James Wong, Bob Flowerdew and Anne Swithinbank. Tickets are available to Seedy Sunday visitors from 10.30am on the day – first come, first served. The price will be £4 to cover the cost of hiring the main hall at BHASVIC; this is in addition to the £3 Seedy Sunday entrance fee. Recording will start at 3.30pm.
Seedy Sunday is February 4th, and runs from 10.30 to 4pm. It’s at BHASVIC, 205 Dyke Road, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 6EG. See the map here. Please note there is NO parking for the public on site. Visit www.seedysunday.org for information on public transport.
Did you know that 15 – 21 November is Brighton Time to Act week?
Our friends over at Brighton CAN (Climate Action Network) are organising an amazing line up of events, including a special climate change -themed Allotment Sunday with us on the 22nd November between 11am and 1pm.
The network campaigns for divestment from polluting industries, the creation of a million climate jobs, against fracking and the continued burning of fossil fuels, and for the expansion of renewable energy, energy conservation, cheap and environmentally clean public transport, and a better and safer urban environment for cyclists and walkers.
We hope to see you on the 22nd… if you want to find out more about the events or the Climate Action Network, pop along to their information stall at the Jubilee Library from 12 – 18 November, or visit their website to find out where you can watch a film, make a flag, enjoy a pint or even cycle to Paris!
Brighton Climate Action Network