MAC – Eco Fest

Midlands Art Centre are having a eco-day called Eco Fest details below:

Come and join mac and local eco-friendly organisations at Eco Fest.

The day will offer free workshops and activities as well as opportunities to find out how you can further develop your eco-friendly credentials, both in the home and within your own community.

Stalls on the day will include:

For more information head to 

Winterbourne – July Update


Digging for Dirt continues to grow and explore new and exciting ways to engage with Winterbourne’s history, plant collections and projects – thanks in no small part to your support. If you enjoy a post, please continue to help spread the word by sharing on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest by clicking the icons which follow at the bottom of each page:

All of this wet weather we have been having recently has meant that the weeds are grow

ing twice as fast and driving the gardeners mad. Have a look at last month’s ‘The Unmentionables’ to find out how they have been coping and discover a different side to your everyday garden weeds through the work of cyanotype artist Anne Parouty:

After two years of planning, digging and planting ‘Ovid’s Garden’ situated at the end of the Lower Lawn finally opened on a sunny Saturday in June complete with talks from its architects and a special performance by Roman pantomime theatre group Avid for Ovid. See how it went at:

The writings of Gertrude Jekyll inspired much of Winterbourne’s original design and indeed her theories of colour harmonisation continue inform our choice of herbaceous planting today. In this month’s ‘Snapshot’ we find the colour blue in some surprising places:

Dodge the rain showers and get out into your own garden this month. There are plenty of great tips and plenty of photographs of some spectacular summer showstoppers in our ‘July Notebook’ :

Grow Social – City Hospital Greenhouses

The Real Junk Food Project are hosting their next Grow Social on Tuesday 28th June at the City Hospital Greenhouses, 18:30-20:00. The description of the event is as follows:

What do we do after the food waste ends? We grow our own of course! For tips on how you can do this at home and with the Real Junk Food Project, and to have a chat with some people in the know, you can both find out whatever you need to know to grow your own food, and how you can help the Real Junk Food Project get growing in Birmingham! PAYF Refreshments provided.

Get in touch with them over Facebook for more details!

Birchfield Residents Action Group – Job Vacancy

Birchfield Residents Action Group have got a job vacancy for a Project Manager to be based at their Livingstone Road Community Allotment, the advert is below!

Part-time position based at Livingstone Road Community Allotment

Hours per week: 16 hours per week (Initially a fixed term 6 month contract with the possibility of an extension)

Salary: £10.41 per hour (Payroll managed by BVSC)

Birchfield Residents Action Group (BRAG) set up the Livingstone Road Community Allotment Project in 2010. The allotment project aims to involve and connect people of all ages and backgrounds to the natural environment and food growing, and also works with socially isolated people who live in the locality. The project currently receives funding from Birchfield Big Local for work with vulnerable adults at the allotment site and also for work with the wider community on Bloom in Birchfield – part of a national initiative to encourage local residents to take greater pride in their neighbourhoods. More information can be found at –

BOSF Midsummer Social – Tuesday 21st June


Birmingham Open Spaces Forum will be holding their Midsummer Social on Tuesday the 21st June. The plan is to meet at Stirchley Park at 6pm (just off the Pershore Road, behind Stirchley Baths) and begin with a ‘Bio Blitz’ lead by Ranger Alf and the Friends of Stirchley Park. The social will then head to the garden of the British Oak pub for a chat. The social is open to all Friends of Parks groups and volunteers from around the city’s parks and open spaces.

Garden Organic Event – Sparkbrook – Friday 3rd June

karelaGarden Organic have organised an event at Christ Church in Sparkbrook that will run from 11am-2pm on Friday June 3rd, based around preparing and cooking exotic fruit and vegetables.

The event will demonstrate how to cook and prepare unusual vegetables and spices from a wide range of locations including Zimbabwe, Chile, India and Pakistan. We will show you how to prepare foods off the beaten track such as African Kale in peanut sauce, methi stock cubes, coriander pickle and dudi halva. There will be plenty of samples to try.

If you’re interested or would like more information contact Anton Rosenfield here:

Garden Organic Update

karelaWe’re delighted to present this update from Garden Organic regarding funding they have received from the Heritage Lottery:

Thanks to Heritage Lottery Funding, during the 2016 growing season Garden Organic is able to come out to your site and provide advice on growing unusual and exotic vegetable crops. We can provide advice on which varieties grow well, where to obtain seeds, top tips for cultivation and how to use the produce.

We only have limited resources, so we will give priority to community grops and sites where a group of people rather than a single individual will benefit from the advice.


If interested, please contact Anton Rosenfeld,;

Winterbourne House & Garden Update


If you’ve been to Winterbourne lately you’ll have seen that it’s beginning to burst with colour as life returns to the gardens on every front; in this month’s update of their Digging for Dirt blog there’s a plethora of helpful tips, some beautiful photographs and another history lesson, this time centred around their Gilbert Orchid House.

Filling up the Snapshot section this month is a wonderful selection of photographs focused around the colour green with a quote attached from Gertrude Jekyll, the famous horticulturalist who created over 400 gardens worldwide and who also inspired Margaret Nettlefold’s design of the Winterbourne Garden.

The Gilbert Orchid House is one of the standout attractions at Winterbourne and this month their article Blowing Hot and Cold documents it’s rich history from it’s beginnings all the way through to present day.

As always they have released a garden notebook, this one covering off the jobs you can get done throughout April (there’s still time!). But don’t take it from us, head over here and read it straight from the experts to ensure your garden is blooming beautifully throughout the year.

A Team Challenge Open for Applications

The 2016 A Team Challenge is open for applications – please apply or spread the word!

The A Team Challenge is looking for innovative food and farming initiatives for its 2016 programme. It offers a combination of grant or loan funding up to £6,000 which must be matched by an equivalent amount raised through crowdfunding.

They are looking for projects that farm in a way that nurtures and protects the environment ie farm agro-ecologically, create local supply chains, increase employment and community engagement and revive local economies.

Applications are open until 9th May 2016 with the winners announced by 30th June 2016. Find out more and how to apply here!

Birmingham Forest Oaks – Growing School

Aubergine_2ndAugust2012Growing School was started by the Ranger Service in 2013 as part of the Big Dig campaign, a response to the need for local people to get growing and producing their own food. This education allotment is based at Broadlane allotments in Kings Heath. Ranger Dean delivers sessions on all the things you need to know to get growing. Growing school is a place to learn together, currently 5 families are being supported in the growing and maintenance of plots. Dean also runs an after school club on Wednesdays and during school holidays. The allotment is also used as a show case for others to come and visit. Growing school offers an outreach service across Birmingham to support people entering Birmingham in Bloom, community gardens/projects and new starters on allotments. Often this has been just the help some small projects have needed to give them the confidence to set up and get growing. Growing school has worked with a number of schools and colleges, tailoring sessions to meet the curriculum, creating spaces that are easy to maintain and successfully grow produce. Winning a number of prestigious awards including Silver in Best Community Vegetable Patch in Birmingham in Bloom 2014, Growing school’s hard work and dedication are paying off. Food security is a real issue for many families in Brum as well as globally, so being able to act locally and learn how to produce food is empowering, cost effective and fun. Growing school is growing community resilience.

Dean Paul can be contacted by e mail:


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