- The Get Growing Trail is back after the 2020 event was cancelled – this time for a harvest-themed event
- St Werburghs City Farm and Ashley Vale Allotment Association (AVAA) are making available a "Community Plot" for local community groups interested in enabling more people to access land and grow food
- More than 20 fruit and vegetable gardens open their doors to the public
Now in its ninth year, Bristol Food Network’s Get Growing Trail returns for a harvest-themed weekend with 22 of Bristol’s fruit and vegetable gardens throwing open their gates on 18th and 19th September. The Trail offers the perfect opportunity for families and friends to explore the city’s community allotments, orchards, smallholdings, mini market gardens, city farms and productive parks in a safe way.
Meanwhile, Ashley Vale Allotment Association (AVAA) and St Werburghs City Farm are also taking advantage of the ocassion to make a call to every community group in the area who's interested in taking on a "Community Allotment" to enable more people, who usually don't have access to land, to grow food and connect with nature. Find more about it HERE...
On Saturday September 18th from 10AM - 2PM, staff from the Farm will also be joining the #GetGrowingTrail and LOCAL ARTISTS are invited to showcase and sell their artwork DURING THE ENTIRE WEEKEND (contact us if you're interested) — with ecological / social justice / food growing / land access motives — at the following sites:
- Propagation Place: will be offering on-site sales of vegetable plug plants, a tour of our beautiful organic community garden project and the option to learn about sowing and caring for seedlings from one of our experienced staff members. Plant sales will be available over the whole weekend but if you want more specific info about plants being sold, you should come during the staffed hours for the Get Growing Trail.
- The Community Garden on Mina Road (seeds will be for sale) and the Boiling Wells Conservation Site (orchard plus food forest and open-air amphitheatre) are great sites for a picnic, to connect with nature and to see productive food systems in place that also provide habitat to wildlife and green spaces for humans.
As in previous years, gardens on the Trail will be highlighting their nature-friendly growing methods and approaches with a wealth of tips, ideas and insights for visitors to take back and share at their own plot, garden or even window box. All in a bid to support and encourage more nature-friendly growing in the city.
Growing has improved many aspects of mental and physical health for the city’s citizens during the pandemic and helped us feel more peaceful and content and often better in the moment. Jeff from Bridge Farm says: “Some of us have got really green fingers, some of us less so, but we’re all learning all the time from each other. The sense of well-being and self-empowerment you get from growing food, you cannot beat it!” Bridge Farm is a new addition to the Get Growing Trail.
June is when the city’s community growing spaces have previously opened for the Get Growing Trail. With the event cancelled in June 2020 and with the situation still unclear for the usual June 2021 Trail, Bristol Food Network (BFN) instead hosted a digital version of the Trail in June 2021, showcasing some of the amazing growing sites around the city digitally. Groups sent in ‘homemade’ short videos which BFN stitched together into this short film.
With Covid-19 lockdowns restricting peoples’ movements, gyms closing and indoor socialising spaces limited, spending time in the garden, park or allotment has been an important way for Bristol’s citizens to keep mentally and physically healthy during the pandemic. Many groups will be welcoming visitors to their sites for the first time since the pandemic begun – an opportunity to connect with each other through nature, while continuing to be safe.
The lockdowns prompted a lot of people to Get Growing for the first time, and this has inevitably had a knock-on effect in the increasing numbers on allotment waiting lists. Getting involved in community growing offers people another way to Get Growing - and to learn amongst others in a supportive, friendly environment.
As well as garden tours, this year’s September Trail includes seed sowing, fun games for kids, apple juice-making, the opportunity to pick up some new plants and fresh produce, delicious lunch and snack stops, wildlife-friendly gardening tips, and Bristol’s first fully wheelchair-accessible dementia-friendly allotment.
All openings are subject to current government Covid-19 restrictions. Please check the BFN website for any updates.
Trail highlights for 2021:
- Bristol’s first fully wheelchair-accessible dementia-friendly allotment (Alive at Brentry) will be open on Sunday 19 September, 12 noon–4pm.
- Bridge Farm in Bell Hill, BS16, is another new addition and will be open both days over the Get Growing Trail weekend for visits and volunteering.
- Hazelnut Community Farm in Horfield is open Saturday 18 September, 10am-4pm and Sunday 19 September 10am-1pm. There will be creative nature crafts and tours of the site.
- Baggator at The Pickle Factory (13 All Hallows Road) will be open Saturday 18 September 1-4pm and Sunday 19 September, 4-7pm.
- Another new addition to the Trail, Long Ashton Growers, will be open both days, 11am-4pm.
- Royate Hill Community Orchard and Allotment will be hosting a communal apple-pressing event. From collecting the apples, to squishing and pressing, and composting what’s left, this is permaculture in action with no waste!
- -ENDS - -
Notes to editors
- The Trail takes place on 18th and 19th September 2021. Details of the Trail and garden openings can be found on the Bristol Food Network website.
- Images can be found here.
- Get Growing has been put together by Bristol Food Network with the support of the Bristol Food Policy Council. This year the Get Growing Garden Trail has been made possible thanks to grants from R H Southern Trust and Hubbub.
- For more information please contact Ramona Andrews, Get Growing Trail Coordinator 2021, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07813 094 405.