Feeding Cities

We are particularly interested in how cities can become more sustainable, especially with this question of how a city might feed itself in the wake of growing fuel costs, rising populations and other climate change related challenges. Starting, quite literally, in our own back yard, this year we wanted to maximise growing in our gardens by growing vertically. We identified one of the challenges as needing more knowledge, skills and confidence to get on with it. I decided to take a sustainability short course to better understand the implications for local and seasonal food growing and Erinma partnered us up on a research project, called Everyday Growing Cultures which is exploring community growing in two cities, Manchester and Sheffield.

The best way to make sense of everything we’ve learned and to share that more widely is to make films. So, here’s Feeding Cities, which is made for my sustainability course but obviously I hope it has wider value. I certainly learned an incredible amount in making it and editing it.

A huge thank you to all of the contributors to the film, who took the time to share their research, insights and actions. It was truly eye opening and inspirational to see the play Our Food in London, see Moss Brook Growers near Glazbury, talk to Unicorn Grocery in Chorlton, visit Manchester Museum allotment and to visit the Whitworth Art Gallery’s green roof and to hear about research from the Sustainable Consumption Institute at The University of Manchester.

Worth checking out what else these organisations are up to – as their work is ongoing – with opportunities for people to get involved.

On the Our Food project, run by Speaks, for example, which used participatory theatre as a way to explore community perspectives and research around food, has launched a competition for more plays about food. Manchester Museum runs regular events and activities including talks, food foraging and more.

Moss Brook Growers regularly have volunteer days called Land Army and run by Kindling Trust to help increase the production of sustainable food for Greater Manchester.

Another organisation that is big on getting local people involved is the Biospheric Foundation, who have teamed up with Manchester International Festival. Lots of events where you can actively contribute and make a difference  include growing a forest garden and much more.

We’re turning our attention now to our own neighbourhood via the Everyday Growing Culture’s project and a workshop on the 15th of May in Old Trafford run by The Kindling Trust & Open Data Manchester to map spaces where food can be grown. More details here.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Brian Whtie says:

    I have a pallet garden project where I use a small aquarium bubble pump to make the compressed air to run “airlift pumps” to circulate water through container gardens. The air pressure and air volume needed is extremely low and these soil gardens end up with many of the benefits of hydroponics. At least 150 sq ft can be continuously watered with a 4.5 watt bubble pump! The pallet garden project is on youtube as a playlist and here is the airlift pump I devised for it. (It has been used in North America, Europe and Asia so far. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8124/8660038327_5d8305d1d7_c.jpg

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