Open Space Meeting Report: Local Food

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  • Allotments
    • popular in Cambridge;
    • 300 people on the various waiting lists in Cambridge (though most people are on more than one list so the number is dubious);
    • Allotment society likes to assign new people a 1/4 plot to ensure they work it. If they do they get more;
    • Associate membership is available even for those without allotments;
    • Allotments seem to engender community spirit amongst, for example:
      • Group seed purchase
      • Seed swaps, plant swaps and informal sharing
      • Giving and receiving advice
    • Threats to existing allotments are always a concern as land is a premium in Cambridge;
    • In Cambridge one group has an allotment collective (4 families) where they can keep chickens;
    • Someone else has bees on their allotment;
  • Allotment Alternatives
    • Sharing big gardens is an alternative to having an allotment. People with big gardens who might be open to the idea could check out the allotment waiting lists;
    • Community Garden;
    • Grow in pots, on balconies and in grow bags;
    • Grow on a flat roof (must be strong) eg in reading;
  • Community Orchards
    • Ceri and others have established a Community Orchard in Trumpington
  • Seeds
    • the HDRA have a seed library:
      • Gardeners can get seeds from the library
      • Experts can become seed custodians, sending seeds back to the library
    • GM seeds are not re-usable
    • Developing specific seeds for specific areas may have promise
  • Involvement
    • Stating small scale, like a 1/4 allotment or allotment share;
    • Issues around getting started;
    • Community garden with community gardener is an easy way to share knowledge and to help people get started;
  • Council Tree Planting
    • the council plants a lot of trees along the roadside and elsewhere. These are rarely fruit or nut trees. Can we change this?
  • Livestock
    • People were interested in:
      • Pigs
      • Chickens (especially battery rescue chickens which are free)
      • Goats
      • Bees
    • With all this livestock how do we go on holiday?
  • Examples from elsewhere
    • Cuban Permaculture
    • Box Schemes covered on BBC Farming Today on Saturday 28th June
  • Funding
    • Sustainability City Grants - 5k
    • Open Spaces Grants - 10k 100% funded
  • The Law
    • In a recent TV program Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall used the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 to get 6 signatories over 18 to ask the local council for a plot to grow food. This seemed to work!

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Transition Cambridge aims to help Cambridge make the transition to ways of life that are more resilient in the face of rising energy prices and a changing climate.

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