This was a first for me. Tonight I was an after dinner speaker! I was invited to talk to the Whickham Rotary Club about self-sufficiency, bee-keeping, raising hens and growing vegetables. It was an interesting evening and a great group of people who grilled me at the end in a Q&A session about allotments, beekeeping, sloe gin and community based food growing.
Tbis was not the only meeting recently to which I was invited to talk about allotments and food growing. Yesterday I went to the Gateshead Central Nursery at the invite of the environmental charity Groundwork who have taken over the site for five years. The Nursery was previously used to supply the borough with the plants for hundreds of flower beds and for the parks. The Council has now greatly reduced the number of flower beds and the reduced number of plants needed are now bought in. So the Nursery became surplus to requirements.
The person I met from Groundwork was Geoff Dawson and he wanted to hear my ideas for community uses of the site, with its polytunnels and greenhouses as well as outdoor growing spaces. We also discussed craft and local food markets, beekeeping and herb gardens.
Groundwork are keen to have community businesses on the site and are open to ideas. If you have any suggestions for how the site can be used, please contact him on Geoff.Dawson@groundwork.org.uk.