Status Grow

Cropping all over the world!

Communities grow stronger when they’re growing together

Over the past two years, we’ve worked hard to build gardening communities and help people feed themselves on wholesome, natural fruit and veg. Working with many multidisciplinary groups in the local area, including Newcastle borough council and the Cornerstone Community Centre, we continue to grow, in size, spirit and scope, in and around the North Staffordshire area.

When we heard about food poverty, we decided to do something about it

For us, food poverty is all about not being able to feed yourself, either because you can’t afford it or because you don’t have the knowhow. We’re here to teach people about nutrition and growing their own food, from bed to belly.

We help out in the community food garden at Queen Elizabeth II park in Newcastle under Lyme, which is run by Newcastle Borough Council in partnership with groups in the local area, including Status Grow. Anyone can go into the food garden and take as much as they need, all free of charge — helping people feed themselves on wholesome, natural food.

 

Fresh food is an issue for those in food poverty

Foodbanks are wonderful things, but three weeks of food has to have a long shelf life, which means a lot of tinned and dried food, filled with preservatives. That’s fine, as long as you have some fresh food to go along with it. That’s where we come in.

The Queen Elizabeth II park community food garden was set up to solve this exact issue: free fresh fruit and veg for anyone to take, so those in food poverty can eat healthily, no matter their income or how much space they have in their back garden.

The story of Status Grow

From 2012 to today, this is where we’ve been and where we’re going

June 2012

In June 2012, volunteer Jayne Fair realised the fundamental problem of foodbanks not providing fresh fruit and veg, and set out to solve the problem. With the help of chairperson Alan Barrett, treasurer Julie Oxberry, and secretary Helen Kennedy, Status Grow was founded.

The first plot was graciously lent to us by the Cornerstone Community Centre. Our next job was to start digging so we could plant our first crops. However, there was a slight hiccup: the soil on the plot is filled to bursting with clay beneath the surface, so when the rains arrived, the trench looked like this:

About two days later

Needless to say, there weren’t many potatoes flowering that year. In fact, there weren’t any, but all the best things come from humble beginnings, right? We soon realised that we’d need raised beds, so that was our next task …

August 2012

In August 2012, we were pleased to find that Status Grow had been chosen by the Prince’s Trust to be one of their projects. Working with a team of 11, we designed and built five raised beds for our Silverdale site. The materials used to build and fill the raised beds — wood, nails, soil, etc. — were all scrounged from the local area or paid for by the hard work of the Prince’s Trust team.

April 2013

In April 2013, we began work on the next stage of our growth: our social area. Destined to be the site of our outdoor kitchen and training space, we began by building our willow yurt. With funding from Staffordshire County Council, we were able to employ a professional willow artist who worked with a team of volunteers to build the structure.

Though largely finished by Summer 2013, the yurt was finally completed in September 2014 with the addition tyre chairs with wooden and grass seats.

July 2014

In July 2014, we began building our outdoor kitchen. With the help of our willow artist, we built a stone-age roundhouse, with no modern building techniques, such as nails and glue, being used. It comes complete with free-standing roof using only the power of gravity and a few pieces of wood to make it stand. The full project is due to be completed by Summer 2015.

 

Cornerstone Community Centre site in Silverdale

Our first site is located in Silverdale, on land graciously lent to us by the Cornerstone Community Cerntre. We first started work there in 2012, and it is now home to our community garden, willow yurt, and cobb oven under a hut built using traditional Saxon techniques. We also have tomatoes growing on potato root stock, so we’ll have tomatoes on top and potatoes on bottom, all from one plant. The site is located on Mill Street in Silverdale. See it in Google Maps →

Queen Elizabeth II park food garden in Newcastle

Our second site is located in Newcastle, and is run in co-operation with Newcastle Borough Council. We work together and with the local community to grow free, fresh food for anyone to take, helping to feed those in food poverty living in the Newcastle area. The community food garden has carrots, beetroot, potatoes, and rhubarb, among others, in raised beds, as well as summer fruits for people to enjoy, a bug hotel, and flowers to help the bee population. See it in Google Maps →

Get in contact with Status Grow

Status Grow is always looking for volunteers and people to help out in any way. Seed donations and fresh ideas are also welcome. If you’d like to see the work that’s going on, you can drop by either site while the gates are still open during the daytime.

Status Grow on Facebook →

info@statusgrow.org.uk

07541 261877