Open Space discussion groups



People formed break out groups or clusters around different subjects proposed by different people at the day.  There was a choice of 5 topics per haf hour (10 topics in all over one hour) and people were free to move between the discussions.  Then each cluster fed back to the whole group. I have summarised here 1) the notes each group took while they were talking 2) a summary of the feedback as delivered to the whole group.


1. Cultural Shift


1)    Groups

2)    Location local groups

3)    Local community

4)    Local media

5)    Hubs

6)    Following example

7)    Leverage

8)    Influence

9)    Necessity

10)  Unity through commonality

11)  Education and courses

12)  Growth through crises

13)  Intuition

14)  Attitude

15)  Action

16)  Projects

17)  Recognition

18)  Awareness of cycle

19)  Karma

20)  Roots

21)  Meditation


Dreaming – vision – creative – media



Swapping time and skills

Need an exchange/database of what we’ve got in terms of skills

The school of

Time banks (lets)

Email group

Pulling in and supporting people who may not have access to computers – notice boards

Develop little local groups of skill sharing

Think about engaging young people and elderly people and cross culture swapping. Link up with youth groups and schools.

Develop mentoring schemes

Involve communities young people in developing planting schemes, where there have been vandalism

Get funding for projects like growing in schools

Find neutral public spaces where people can gather and share knowledge and experiences



Food enterprise

Consortium of food growers

Coopers UK Plunkett Foundation rural areas and potential to link in rural supplies

Good e.g. ‘Glebelands’ Manchester market garden growing all sorts of veg and supply veg box schemes and Unicorn food coop, speak to Adam and Lesley


Look at linking to existing veg box schemes and find out their gaps to establish a market

Need to be aware of greater benefits that could be got from involving people in process of food growing i.e. not just about price – need to tap in to local enthusiaism also need to be aware of a normal business model develops from a small group of individuals rather than starting off as a big organisation

Fair trade for this country

Emails: anna Seward, Paul Grassick: [email protected], [email protected]; Mik Marston Federation of City Farms/Soil Association


Guerrilla Gardening

Plant perennials, herbs, fruit trees – returning to care/prune them

Street gardening – window boxes, begin planting to get people started

Lots of people who want to plant, and care – rangers, school, allotment associations, improving community

Dumping grounds – how to start a community garden

Take back unwanted spaces

Japanese knotweed on open spaces!! Who deals with it?


How to Start

Just dig a patch and start

If no garden use planters and hanging baskets

Use tradition and intuition

Form group for complete beginners (Support group)

Learn from other people’s mistakes – trial and error

Access to information – library, internet, people

Fill a need (save money and fuel)




Acquiring (getting hold of land)

Short of cultivable land

Community Land Trust

Shared ownership

Buying/leasing land – held in trust – way to raise investment

Who owns land?


Public Authorities i.e. Coal Board

Landowners Duke of Norfolk

Rivelin Valley Sheffield

Land that cannot be maintained by council

Flytipping problem

Way of avoiding Council Regulations/Neglect

Removing from trees

Turfing off neglected plots



Fordhill Farm

Community Land Trust

Organic Meat

Sell Shared to Buy Land

Threatened by Developers



Greg Pilley (Based in Salford) Community Land Trust

Asset Transfer – sympathetic council – different models


Rural Problems

Farm sold, builds sold and land separately (horses!)

Landowners selling to developers

CAP/cost of agricultural land


Urban Problems

Houses vs. green space

Council selling to developers

Compulsory Purchase Order – public/state confusion


Financing – grants and subsidies


City Farm

Manage/own bits of land all over 20/25 year lease

Down own farm building

Registered charity/trust

Manage wall garden

Lack of security – council can take back

Advice “be opportunistic!” “move to Spain”


Pressure on councils to sell of assets not to transfer

Need access to land to address local food growing

Ownership Important for security, raising money through securing loans and imp?

Issues around price of land – Sheffield as expensive


Philanthropy as source of land?

University a big landowner

Co-operative model? E.g. Scottish woodlands

Get together to buy land where cheaper to have a stake in land

United diversity – land trust – pay monthly to acquire more land

Local government accountability lack of trust of community groups


Gardening on the Radio

Sheffield allotment radio show

Red Cloud (musici ans – songs about food)

Grow Year Own

Sheffield Live starts 5 year FM licence on 29 Oct (93.2FM)

Accepting proposals for daytime shows

Pilot show – later picked up by Radio Sheffield? Not much competition

Promote arts events on allotments


Get allotment officer in for questioning!

I’m going to put a proposal in this week, people interested contact me Andy Healey 2617747


Community cafes

Sheffield fruit

Short term lets? – location

Stall? Van?

Supply of local food – Abundance

Look for blossom in Spring for location of fruit

Veg? Small groups on allotments, surplus café – Heeley City Farm Courses and training

Identifying existing groups – old people’s food group, voluntary/community sector, catering infrastructure

Burngreave New Deal for Community – already lots of different cafes

Different options and formats

People together, eating together and eating healthily

Shared lunches – food swaps – shared meals – inclusive – multicultural

Sharrow – café – grass roots level – lunch clubs – pilot scheme (measurable)


Picnic – each Sunday 2 people to facilitate – advertise locally – word of mouth

Lots of different projects spread across the city – umbrella to oversee communication general public understand ‘café culture’ challenge ‘legislation’ excludes smaller groups

Allotment ‘visitor centres’ farm shops, cafes

Birmingham – one allotment site has its own pub!




Growing Grow Sheffield

Website, length, blog, immediate way of continuing work (who to maintain) Viral – following examples, teaching local responsibility

Allotment matching – abundance

List of aims and wants – lobbying council – Grow Sheffield info in new allotment packs

NON PARTISAN HUB Funding for co-ordinator?

Higher level meetings and make attractive

Low Key Monthly Meetings – activity based

Dating agency model – Maps (privacy?) Database – Knowledge Bank

Steering Group – how representative co-op (flexible) model rather than charity


Biodiversity and Climate Change

Info on crop diversity and local plant varieties and sources of plants and seeds i.e. garden organic

Link to biodiversity experts and groups

Events for adapting to climate change

Discussions that involve everyone to find possible solutions to include advertising on a global

Variety is key

Design to cope with weather fluctuation

Connecting green spaces in Sheffield

Joined up thinking

Transition towns – looking at a number of issues together with subgroups we need one in Sheffield, share knowledge

What is the best way to bring together people interested in a number of issues?

What information is available on the impacts of climate change in Sheffield? Regional climate change plan and regional spatial strategy

Making links to councillors etc that growing strategy and green spaces and increased biodiversity can help reduce the impacts of climate change

Links between growing, climate change, health, biodiversity

Should get involved in Campaigning and grass roots action and lobbying

Education – all levels – schools, uni, next generation

Joined up thinking for a sustainable future

Regeneration so that all people have quality green space locally.

People love biodiversity/nature!!













2. Group feedback


How to Start

2 levels – theoretical/spiritual

              – practical

How to combine – have a compelling vision and skills


Acquiring land

Different ways of acquisition

Know rich people! to donate the land

Monthly contributions


Sharing skills

Email group, local networking

All skills, timesharing, engage all age groups in community


Sheffield Live

5-year community licence

Potential for daytime programme

People to talk about different ways of producing food

Promotion – who will listen?


Cultural Shift

Grouping – get people to talk – internalise. Use radio can use music/fun

Use other skills

Need Mainstream media

Intuition – use it?


Biodiversity and Climate Change

Make the links


Research how CC will affect food growing and then adapt

Connect ? Campaigning


Community Cafes

Many ways – existing/new/stalls

Sourcing – surpluses

Could start simply

Link with community work

Birmingham PUB!


Guerrilla Gardening

Find the spaces – wasteland




Food Enterprises

Power systems – large organisations

Can reduce diversity

Be realistic – avoid grant funding

Fair Trade mark for UK?

Put small growers together


Growing Grow Sheffield

Very open idea

Could be umbrella/hub

Does it need a Committee?

A lot of work just for Abundance

LOBBYING – non-partisan

Website a good start

Steering Group to take away today’s ideas

Are others doing this?

SUSTAIN – London based project

Need for paid workers


Smaller group meetings e.g. different community to plan

Abundance for next year

Keep talking – next meeting?

Venue – blind centre, local pub, small room in Council Offices (Gillian Creasy)

Use contacts list



Need in-road to council

Not a list of needs but give suggestions

Work with individual councillors – green party

Try partnership working

Use creative lobbying methods

How to use ‘force’ for change

Refugees may have with them and provide funding

Use the school of

Heeley City Farm courses

25/10 Rain Gardens talk at Sheffield Wildlife Trust

Grow Sheffield website a link to all these other initiatives

Work with Sheffield Wildlife Trust – grow food on nature reserves.