A Community Network for Bowes Park and Bounds Green
Here's an article I found online about Todmorden up North, where they've planted fruit and veg all over the town in spare bits of land that are unused, and out in the street. The fruit and veg is for the whole community to use. They have been so successful that they have become quite a tourist attraction. It's similar to Guerilla Gardening I suppose - only with more involvement of the community who gain the rewards.
Speaking of spare land, I live in Passmore Edwards House where there is a large patch of land right in front of it, which is Council land. The residents of PEH, Dorothy and Isadore from Rhys Avenue and the schoolchildren of Bounds Green School planted tons of daffodils on this spare land last year. It looked lovely in the spring. But there is room for so much more. At present it is just a rather pleasant, grassed over oblong with a pretty iron archway which is a relic from the days when this piece of land led into a women's hospital, which is now where PEH stands. It would be a lovely wildflower meadow for instance if the Council could be persuaded. At least they wouldn't have to mow it any longer.
I thought I'd get in touch to tell you about the not for profit UK online based recycling/reuse voluntary organisation ilovefreegle.org - Freegle means 'Free Giving Locally Easily' and has only one goal 'To Stop Good Stuff Going to Landfill and in doing that support our local communities.
There are over 340 groups UK wide and more than 1.3 million members offering things they no longer want and getting things they do want or need completely free of charge. Freegle is run entirely online hosted by Yahoo Groups since we're not for profit as you may know Yahoo Groups is a free service to all users! I run Enfield Freegle with over 7,000 members all helping save the planet one gift at a time.
It's free to join the ilovefreegle.org community wherever you live and completely free to use. There are few rules such as no offering or requesting to swap, lend, borrow or sell on our sites but we do actively encourage Schools, Clubs, Community Projects, Hostels, Safe Houses and many, many more who can post for resources free of charge. ilovefreegle.org was shortlisted for this years Climate Week Awards losing to the Isle of Wight which is amazing considering how small Freegle is in comparison to a whole island. You'll also find Freegle on Facebook and Twitter - I hope that you find this information of use to you and please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions I'm happy to help?
Hi Liz - thanks very much for that - I think many people will find this very useful and I have taken a note of it. It's a great idea! At present things I don't need or use any more Hospice Charity Shop in Wood Green and larger items go to Mencap (think it's now called Kith and Kids!) in Tottenham. I will certainly add your option to my list! Many thanks.
Your very welcome! I didn't give all of the information about Freegle in my last post so here goes. Freegle also allows members to offer broken white and electrical goods so for instance if your fridge or DVD stops working you can save yourself the cost of having your fridge picked up by offering it on Freegle someone may be able to fix them or use them for spares and repair, but then you can post a wanted ad or respond to an offer of another and when it breaks down you can put it back up and get another you never have to buy white or electrical goods again if you choose.
The first question that came to mind was: what's the difference between Freegle and Freecycle? Every so often I've given and received on Freecycle Haringey but this is the first time I'd heard about Freegle.
I did a search to try and answer my question. From what I can tell, Freegle broke away from Freecycle in 2009, though both are setup to cater to the exact same need. Here's a Guardian article that explains the impetus for the split.
There are some differences both on Freegle groups both backstage and on our sites. All Freegle group owners (Yahoo terms calls those who create groups are called this) and moderators have a say in how Freegle is run and so long as we follow the Freegle T&C's we have autonomy within our groups which allows us to run our local groups much easier. I read the article and the following responses and they are all true in my experience of Freecycle it was really sad because we didn't want to leave but we were left with no options.
Freegle also allows members to offer or request broken white or electrical goods but Freecycle assumes that there will be personal gain so doesn't allow it. Freegle says it's not going to landfill so we're happy for members to offer them up.
We also allow Freecycle mods and group owners to use our backstage mod sites so they can discuss issues without the fear of losing their groups as happened with us before we left many people were demoted and banned with a 'You are no longer a good fit with Freecycle' emails often after many years of dedicated service. Hope this answers your questions?
I actually met one of the Incredile Edible Todmorden founders, Pam Warhurst a couple of years ago when she spoke at an event - the project is inspirational and she is a very powerful speaker
Here is a video of her telling the story of Incredible Edible Todmorden.
However ... they do operate in a setting with a lot more open space than Bowes Park! - hence more produce.
I think using publicly accessible local spaces for a bit of food and herb cultivation is a great idea ... but I think it is also worth attempting a bit of behaviour change too... How many private houses with under-utilised front-gardens might be persuaded to grow herbs and make them available to passers-by? Stick in a bit of rosemary and it will look after itself ...This more collective approach could be interesting and maybe signposted with help-yourself label - or a window sticker... it could also lead to many more neighbour interactions and shared conversations.
Or how about a community orchard - there is a terrific one in Stoke Newington initiated by a residents' association http://www.shakespeareresidents.org.uk/p/butterfield-green-communit... a few fruit trees or raspberry canes along the Hidden River path might be a start?
The project is featured along with several others in a new book: Compendium for the Civic Economy launched last month (the video is from the launch) The ‘civic economy’ is a shorthand for citizens’ actions to improve the places where they live and the way they do business and interact with each other.
In answer to you comment about the patch of land in front of PEH - I really think it would be a terrific idea to use this as a self-seeding wildflower meadow - persuading the council to not do something (mowing the grass) is likely to be easier than persuading them to set up something new!
Hello Richard - That was a fantastic video - thanks! And what a dynamic lady. It seems like a different world in Todmorden - quite moving. I agree with you that their setting is more favourable. However, there might be little pockets of spare ground here and there which could be 'appropriated' and planted with something.
I will bring up the idea of the self-seeding meadow with Dorothy or Isadore (I think they are members of this site) as I think they (and our Scheme Manager, Marion) organised the daffodil planting there with the children from Bounds Green School. Maybe they will know which department to contact. I believe the Council provided us with the bulbs, so they might be quite open to it.
All your suggestions were great. Localism and small-ness must surely be the answer!