FREE Fruit Tree grafting workshops

So, its March already, and Spring seems to have usurped Winter from its icy throne, temporarily at least…Like me you may be quite sceptical that Winter has given up the ghost completely but it seems the plants and trees are willing to gamble on it. What this all means to the pragmatists here at Abundance HQ is that we need to buck up our ideas a little, stop hibernating and do some grafting….fruit tree grafting, that is!
If you’re interested in learning the art of fruit tree grafting, in identifying your rootstock from your scion, your M26 from your St Julian A and having a go at doing it yourself, then look no further.
We’ll be running a number of open workshops on how to graft apple, plum, and cherry trees using the ‘whip and tongue’ technique throughout March and into April. The workshops are FREE and you will get to take your own tree home with you if you help us graft some more – we’re aiming to graft around 600 trees this year!
What to bring:
> Graftwood: The apple of your eye! If you’ve always wanted to propagate a special apple, plum or cherry tree then nows your chance. Bring graftwood to a session and make some baby trees with it. If you’re unsure how to take cuttings from said tree, check out thisyoutube video.
> Warm clothes: We will probably be outside for the session (with shelter), so please anticipate a cold day.
> Something to eat and/or drink: If you’re coming for the whole day (which is ideal) you may want to bring a packed lunch.

Below are the dates for the workshops. If you’d like to attend any of them please book a place by emailing or phoning me so I have an idea of numbers, as places are limited. N.B. Session dates are subject to change – there may also be more added.

Saturday 8th, 10am – 4pm: Greave House Farm Volunteer Day.
For instructions on how to get to the farm you can look at their website here.


Wednesday 12th, 1pm – 5pm: Student EATS session, The Huerta (behind Yorkshire Artspace, Brown Street, S1)

Sunday 16th, 12pm – 5pm: Public session, School For Vegetables, Grimesthorpe Allotments (see events calendar for full address)


Saturday 22nd, 11am – 5pm: Public session, venue TBC


Sunday 30th, 12pm – 5pm: Public session, Meersbrook Allotments


Saturday 5th, 11am – 5pm: Public session, Meersbrook Allotments

Shelf Life Art Exhibition- Michael Borkowsky

Michael Borkowsky has contacted us about his forthcoming solo exhibition at the Gage Gallery (Part of Kelham Island Arts Co-Operative) in Sheffield, from 28/02/14 – 12/03/14.

‘Shelf Life’ explores the role of food in art. It seeks to re-imagine the genre of still life painting in order to make it relevant and accessible in the 21st Century – encouraging a questioning of what we perceive as holding value and highlighting how our experiences should not be dictated by vision. I also acknowledge how food and art are able to inform each other as they run parallel in our consumer culture.

A primary concern of mine is the practice of paint making – and the tension between the possibility of raw paint and the notion that meaning can be extracted from raw paint before it has been applied to a surface. My Paint Making Workshop will give participants the opportunity to create paints of their own – using food and egg yolk. I begin by discussing my work, before giving a working demonstration of the paint making process. After a refreshment break the participants will be able to create paints of their own and apply them to a surface.

Carbon Conversations Discussion Groups coming up in Sheffield

Carbon Conversations – next discussion groups start in March/April

Climate change is making itself felt but many people remain uncertain what they can do to cut carbon emissions in their day-to-day lives. Carbon Conversations is a series of 6 meetings (3 weeks apart) that covers topics like energy, transport, food and waste.

 The conversations bring people together in a friendly way to learn about the scientific views and share ideas about what we can all do in our homes and work-places. The approach is informal and non-judgemental and is now being run by volunteers in cities across the country. The cost of the series is £20 per person, to cover handbook and teas/coffees (£25 for a couple sharing a handbook.)


Comments from recent Sheffield participants:

“The board games were enjoyable and brought issues to light in a memorable and interesting way.”

“I enjoyed the sharing and the no-guilt approach.”

“Coming together with people from different backgrounds was eye opening and encouraging.”

You can find more information about Carbon Conversations at:

Aquaponics Pilot Project

Sean and Cies-jan are keen to set up an aquaponics project in Sheffield and are looking for a plot of land to set up a polytunnel (20ft x 36ft) to begin a pilot project. Here’s what Sean had to say about it all:
Me and my friend Cies-jan are looking to set up an aquaponics project in Sheffield. In case you are not familiar with aquaponics, here is a brief description courtesy of Wikipedia:
“Aquaponics is a food production system that combines conventional aquaculture, (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks), with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In normal aquaculture, excretions from the animals being raised can accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity. In an aquaponic system, water from an aquaculture system is fed to a hydroponic system where the by-products are broken down by nitrogen-fixing bacteria into nitrates and nitrites, which are utilized by the plants as nutrients. The water is then recirculated back to the aquaculture system.”I have a background in permaculture, sustainable technology, growing veggies and working with adults with learning disabilities. Cies-jan has 10 years experience working with fish and has trained in animal care. And we’re generally pleasant people.

Finding a suitable site is our first challenge. Would you be able to help us find a spot to stick up a 20ft x 36ft polytunnel to start a pilot project?

So, if you have a suitable site available and fancy some tasty greens and herbs and fish produced on your land, please get in touch. Contact us here at Grow Sheffield – – and we’ll put you in touch with Sean.

Common Ground

Common Ground Community Garden is in Nether Edge (where St Peter’s church used to be on Machon Bank) and has been going for just over a year now. Morwenna from the group gave us this report on progress and latest news:

As we embark upon our second growing season we’re keen to encourage people from the local community to pop down and have a go at growing something this year! We’re going to be part of Sheffield on a Plate and a world record attempt aiming to create the world’s biggest sustainable stew, which could feed over 5000 people.

We’re having a big event on 1st March, 2pm-5pm in partnership with Nether Edge Neighbourhood Group (NENG). It’s a party for all the community and last year it was a big hit! Common Ground Hall needs as much support as it can get at the moment so please pop down, learn about the hall, the garden and the local community and see how you can get involved.

We meet every Saturday morning, 10am-12noon, new volunteers and anyone interested in finding out more can come along. And get the latest updates at our Facebook page.

common ground bedscommon ground banner

Tree Planting

An Ediculture tree planting event happening this Saturday (1st) on Meersbrook allotments.

They”ll be up there between 11am and 4pm so come along to help to stick a few trees in the ground and help make Sheffield an even fruitier city!

What you need to bring:

> Warm/weatherproof clothes

> A packed lunch if you”re thinking of staying a while

> Suitable footwear

> Your mates

When you arrive at the allotments please contact Stephen 07507578885  to get in/find the site.


Job Opportunities with Grow Sheffield

Grow Sheffield Co-ordinators Vacancies

This is an exciting opportunity for two people to work in a small team to continue GS’ projects to March 2015. The co-ordinator roles cover a wide range of tasks and responsibilities at both operational and strategic levels. These include: overview of GS’ projects – currently Sheffield on A Plate, Abundance, Community Growers and the Sheffield Food Network and others as they come on stream; ensuring that the day to day functioning of the organisation is fulfilled efficiently – budgeting, staff and volunteer matters, communications and marketing.

We would like 2 people to cover these responsibilities according to their individual skills experience and interest. The initial contract will be for a year, and the hours available are 14 per week (2 days). These will be allocated approximately evenly between two people (approx 1 day each), the exact tasks and responsibilities will be agreed after appointment between the role holders, the rest of the small GS team and the core team (management committee).The salary will be pro-rata to £24,000 per annum (full time 35 hour week)

It is essential that applicants have proven experience in at least two of the stated responsibilities, experience in working in the voluntary sector and a flexible approach to working in a small non-hierarchical team. Ideally, applicants should also demonstrate understanding/experience of business building, artistic engagement within community projects, and fundraising.

To receive more information and an application pack please contact Coralie on

The closing date for applications is midday on Friday 31st January.

Sheffield Seed Swap in February

It’s our 3rd year in a row of February seed swapping at Heeley City Farm. Everyone is welcome – bring home-saved seeds to swap if you have them but don’t worry if you don’t – there’ll be plenty of seeds available for donation, including a massive assortment of weird and wonderful seeds from the seed bank of the late Richard Clare.

Entrance is free but donations for seeds are welcome. The farm cafe will be open serving hot drinks, food and cake.

Saturday 22nd February, 12-3pm

Heeley City Farm, Richards Rd, S2 3DT.

Organic Food Growing Masterclasses

The Soil Association Organic Farm School at Wortley Hall Walled Garden presents a series of masterclasses with tutor Darrell Maryon.

The sessions will cover:  Sat 22nd March- SOIL; Sat 29th March- COMPOST; Sat 5th April- PROPAGATION; Sat 12th April- CROPS; Sat 26th April- HERBS and WILDLIFE; Sat 3rd May- FRUIT.

They will cost £15/person/session or £75 for all 6 sessions.

For more information contact Darrell on: or 07768 932613

Please note- Advance booking is essential


Get Growing at Meersbrook Park Community Walled Garden

With allotment rents on the rise Heeley City Farm Local Food Team is offering its expertise and experience on this one day course to help you make the most of your allotment (or other garden space) to grow an abundance of food.  The vegetable garden at Meersbrook Park Community Garden is the same size and soil type as a typical garden in Sheffield, perfect for demonstrating effective ways of managing your plot.  The course will be pitched to beginners and those with limited gardening experience.

For more information contact Darrell Maryon on or 07768 932613.

Please note- Advance booking is essential