Tuesday, 19 April 2011

#11 Grow Zone

We are looking to feature the allotment scheme at Lingfield Point in the next Futurescope. Its a project supported by the Friends of the Earth.

Its been a long hard winter and as plants start growing again we want to work with the allotment holders to make a new image as they begin to start work on their plots. (please get in touch if you'd like to be involved; details at the end of the post)

During January I had a good look at the allotments and all the stuff that's there tells its own story a bit more clearly when there are no plants around to distract your attention!

The structures on site 'speak to me' and they say:

1. Its windy
2. the drainage is difficult
3. rabbits (What's up Doc!)

Experiments have been tried and tested. The dumpy bags dry out too easily and this year new efforts are being made with raised beds. Gardeners are patient optimists.

The structures left there in February have something of deserted frontier town about them. The scale of Lingfield's buildings and the flatness of the landscape are completely out of scale with the intimate scale of the allotments but the contrast is inspiring.
This allotment in particular stood out.

This evening I'll be planting chilli seeds - my hobby project. Exotic? not really - they came from Lingfield point!

A little known part of what we do is running a veg box scheme. We started growing veg on an allotment in the late 90's and now its come to this!

Out with spades and in with tractors, accounting systems and delivery vans!
VistaVEG! a growers co-op incorporated as an industrial and provident society which Lynn has developed.

It started as a vista project and one of the things were thinking about when it started was the idea of developing a business model that could be franchised out as a template.

The idea was to promote the idea of farming on urban brownfield land and to make it productive both literally and emotionally.

The project would have two products 1, food and 2, to manage the appearance of landscape not with a design but with an autonomous business. I'm not sure we have got anywhere with this second part of the project people are really attached to mown grass (I don't know why) but its a long game, people change... I live in hope.

Its been a big theme in the work John and I have done together culminating in our proposal for an 'ornamental farm' but it all hangs on the close environment, parallel to ours, in which plants metabolise sunlight and make food.

If you are in the Grow Zone and want to work with us please get in touch or post a comment on this blog. christian@vistaprojects.co.uk. You can see some of the other stuff we do on the website at www.vistaprojects.co.uk or at www.landlab.co.uk