Sunday, 21 February 2010

Reasons to be cheerful.... Growing Newsome!

Growing Newsome is very literally a grassroots organisation, or maybe more appropriately a root vegetable organisation because they aim to grow quite a lot of them this year. They are an offshoot of Newsome Ward Community Forum and over the last year they have done stacks of useful stuff including seed swapping, establishing community allotments on Occupation Road and at the Ashenhurst Allotment site, providing timely advice about planting and mutual support. Yesterday was taking on the bramble patch that time forgot in a back garden. The deal was that we help a householder bring her garden under control and use the land for growing vegetables for the community. When I arrived there were about 20 or so students from Leeds being informed about the work of Growing Newsome by Diane Sims, one of the Growing Newsome Gurus. Pretty soon some of them were helping local volunteers and getting stuck in with secateurs(spell check that one some time). Soon we were uncovering Mayan ruins and lost japaneses soldiers, actually the odd tennis ball and a kids croquet set. There is more to come on the local food front with our first tranche of the 1000 fruit tree project about to come to fruition (the puns are flowing well today!).

So what are the big lessons so far from this for the Council. The Council talks a lot about the need for community cohesion and rightly so, even if 'community cohesion' is not a very engaging phrase. Growing Newsome is a real catalyst for greater community cohesion. It empowers people, brings them together on positive local projects, improves the local environment, provides food for the wider community, reduces carbon emissions, reduces food miles, combats the impact of peak oil, reduces reliance on supermarkets and makes you feel really darn good and positive! Lets face it having gone through the Council's latest budget process I need a bit of positive. Lessons for Green Party Councillors? Well I think I can say we have succeeded in putting sustainable energy high up on the Council agenda, local food and supporting community projects like Growing Newsome is already our new focus. The local food agenda will literally grow and grow (puntastic!)

For more details of 'Growing Newsome' check out their website at:-

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