How did that happen?!
In March 2011 a small group of people met up to think about how we could add some green dimension to the rather drab high street and plant stuff so that we could brighten things up and show how important it is to have access to local food.
Jamie started the Guerilla Gardening on the old Community Centre site on Chapel Street (and it seems there is a long tradition of Agricultural Settlements here in Levenshulme! Much of the land used to be farms…). We asked the Community Association to help us put in for a Cash Grant to pay for some community art workshops to design and build three sets of big Planters outside three cafes: Inspire, Trove and The Village Café. We worked with Stacey Coughlin, the artist from Bankley Mills Studios and a lot of crafts people from behind the Antiques Village to create the boxes, line them and decorate them. We worked through the rain of last year to complete them and several children and young people, from the Levy Youth Club and the Girls High School also took part.
Meanwhile, Feed the City and the Kindling Trust drew attention to the need for the City as a whole to think about Food Policy as the Climate Change bad news began to dawn and we had real evidence of severe weather and more and more expensive food stuffs (Bankers gambling on Futures didn’t help!) Food Banks started in Levenshulme and all over the city.
We now have had Levy Community Orchards planted, a Food Festival, Open Gardens…. There are plans for a Community Play Space at Crayfield Road on the Fallowfield Loop and a straw bale Visitors Centre by the Highfield Allotments. The Manchester Environmental Education Network has worked with our local schools to support growing projects, we have new Forest Gardens springing up and young people have expressed shock that us adults have been taking the food problem so lightly. We all found out about Incredible Edible Todmorden. We thought – We Can Do That! Levy is up for this….
So now we starting on the next phase. We are linking up some of the projects. Tonbridge Road Community Allotment is going to help those of us who want to adopt a planter outside our favourite Café or shop. BUD Garden Centre is helping with expert advice. Abbie has just come from establishing Incredible Edible Bacup. Hulme and Debdale Garden Centres are running courses on gardening. The elders of the Mosque and churches are remembering what they used to grow and giving us advice. We are finding out about herbs and medicinal plants, and veggies which can flourish even if we don’t have an allotment plot. Small scale gardening is here to stay. The “ 20 mile meal” is a new idea. We now care more about food miles and the carbon they represent. We want food fresh and properly grown. We want some examples of how to do that! So if you want to get involved, please sign up.
Originally we also wanted to follow in the footsteps of the architect Hundertwasser and just bring colour and design to a drab street front, but now we have so many people in Levy from creative backgrounds, and so many people who know how to grow, we can really make a difference.
Abbie , Brenda , Lydia and Ruth
Sunday, 29 September 2013
Incredible Edible Levenshulme (facebook page)