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‘Grow Your Own’ film night at Springfield Drive Allotments, 19th June 2008

Transition Town Westcliff celebrated (nearly) the Solstice by showing the wonderful film ‘Grow Your Own’ in the Springfield Drive Allotments canteen on the evening of June 19th. Based on true experiences, this homegrown British comedy drama tells the story of what happens when a group of refugees are given allotment plots as therapy for the traumatic events they have witnessed, and the reaction of the established plot holders. A truly entertaining film, it also carries an underlying message about the mutual support and value of the sort of resilient communities to be found on our allotments. Amazingly however such communities are becoming an endangered species as short sighted councils and developers continue to sell off prime growing land rather than getting serious about responding locally to the threat of global food insecurity, or indeed heeding the current demand for allotments from would-be ‘Good Lifers’ in search a chance to grow fresh organic fruit and vegetables (Springfield Drive currently has a waiting list of some 25 people as I write, and many Londoners I have met speak of 10 to 15 year waiting lists!!)

After the film, which I have to say was very positively received, Kamil facilitated a lively discussion around climate change, peak oil and local food security for Westcliff, and introduced the ‘Post It Note Tool’, whereby participants were given four different- coloured post-it notes. They were asked to write on them accordingly: Pink – One thing I can do Yellow – One thing Westcliff can do, Orange – One thing the Government can do, Green – One other thought.

These were then stuck up on the wall for everybody to read – or would have been if they didn’t keep falling off! Kamil has the notes and has promised to write them up when he returns from his family visit to Poland, but some ideas that stick in my mind include; “setting up a local garden share scheme to link up people who have gardens they can’t or don’t want to look after with people who can’t get allotments but want to grow food” and “More films in the allotment canteen!”


Kamil here: The write up from the Post It Note Tool. People at first said they don’t have ideas, they don’t know what to write, maybe the problems are to complex, maybe we don’t know enough and then they wrote…

One thing I can do : grow own food, compost, organic, invite you to our open day in August – where you can have a stall and talk to the many people who visit the show, start growing my own food and spread the word, buy locally grown produce, grow your own, grow fruit and veg in garden (non GM), I can grow more food, support Transition Town etc. , encourage schools to get children involved in growing veg., I’m doing it www.savepriorypark.org, talk to people, use farm shops,

One thing Westcliff can do: share food surplus, exchange food/skills, people need to come out of denial, support local growers, local production, involve local radio BBC Essex, provide more cycle paths, don’t allow allotment to close, involve local schoolchildren – re-educate, all ‘green groups’ should provide leaflets and local talks to community in Westcliff advising people regarding issues on growing their own food, sharing journeys by car, spread the message via the schools, talks, engagement, buy only local grown produce where possible, get council and housing associations to encourage and support tenants in growing and sharing, replace the urban trees with nut trees, do not buy food not grown in england, more bike only lanes, excess produce to be shared out, protect gardens from planning,

One thing the Government can do: listen, empower local councils to provide more land to enable people without gardens to grow their own, the government will not change – they are the problem, the gov should educate us with more information about how to conserve energy, subsidizing local growers, educational programs, literature etc., all new developments should meet sustainable criteria – not just buildings, not tax fuels made at home eg. diesel substitute made from cooking oil, promote organic, return us to self sufficiency – currently less then 30%, encourage the return to traditional farming, stop the gov building on farm, change attitudes to quality of life, stop building on green land, reward people who cycle, share car journeys, grow their own, incentives will work

One other thought:more meetings like tonight aimed at general public, continue talking to everyone and setting an example, turn over unused/unwanted land to food production – share among local people, thank you, cooking oil to help the fuel situation MORE FILM NIGHTS,

Looks like plenty of ideas to me:)

As this write up shows people of Westcliff can be creative in finding ways to overcome peak oil and climate change. We will look into the above mentioned ideas and they will inspire our work and hopefully we can together grow some projects out of them.

One Response

  1. […] ‘Grow Your Own’ film night at Springfield Drive Allotments, 19th June 2008 […]

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