Transition Cambridge is part of the Transitions Town’s movement, a community of people aiming to make the transition to ways of life that are more resilient in the face of rising energy prices and a changing climate.
Transition has a number of practical growing projects which welcome volunteers. You can get involved here.
Here are some Transition growing projects currently in action:
Cambridge CropShare is a small-scale community-supported agriculture (CSA) scheme in Cambridge based at Willow Farm in Lode. It experiments with ‘crop-sharing’, an exchange of use of land for access to labour, creating opportunities for farm- community collaboration.
Throughout the growing season, local Cambridge farm Waterland Organics makes its farmland available for use by volunteers from the Cambridge area, and reward volunteers with seasonal veg. In exchange, Transition Cambridge volunteers will help plant, weed, and harvest Waterland Organics’ crops.
This requires approximately 20 organized volunteer group trips to the farm – from March through to the end of the year, weather dependent.
Not only do volunteers get access to organic veg but volunteers are able to see how crops are grown at a large scale, have fun working in groups, and chat to real food growers in their local area. Sign up here
You can read Cropshare’s blog here to keep up to date with events and upcoming volunteering opportunities.
Growing spaces aims to reclaim unloved and underused public spaces around the city and transform them using edible landscaping. Check out their map to see if there’s a space near you.
3. Grow your own : Learn how to grow your own vegetables!
‘Grow your own’ sessions are hands-on learning and sharing opportunities for growers of all abilities led by Dave Fox on his plot at the Foster Road allotments in Trumpington. Dave’s organic plot grows vegetables, herbs and fruit in narrow-bed and forest garden systems providing excellent opportunities to learn how to grow your own.
Sessions run on select Saturday mornings during the growing season and sessions are flexible to suit participants. Growing sessions will be listed on Transition’s upcoming events page and if you are interested in taking part or you are an experienced grower who is willing to share your knowledge, you can contact Dave here.
A community-led project to encourage more people in Cambridge to ‘swap and share’ fresh fruit and veg and more: bring and swap home-grown or foraged fruit, vegetables, flowers, herbs and full-sugar long-life preserves.
Community Gardens and Orchards
There are a number of community gardens and orchards in Cambridge, which often need volunteers.
Cambridge Edible Garden
This garden, at Murray Edwards College, is a collaboration between the college and the local community and welcomes volunteers from anywhere in Cambridge. As well as gardening sessions, they sometimes have shared picnics. They advertise gardening sessions on their Facebook page.
The community allotments at the far end of Empty Common Allotments on Brooklands Avenue often host open sessions where volunteers can come and help with the gardening. This project is run by Transition Cambridge. They meet most Sundays from 10.30-12.30. You can find out more from their webpage, blog or by contacting Charlotte on 07752 143 683 or emailing her here.
Romsey Community Garden (a Transition Cambridge project) aims to bring the local community together in a space for leisure and relaxation, to provide people with gardening and sustainable lifestyle skills, and to grow produce for the benefit of local people. They welcome volunteers and are very family-friendly. Refreshments and guidance are always provided. Tools and gloves are also available, although if you have your own, it’s always useful to bring them. Garden Days usually take place in the afternoon on either a Saturday or a Sunday, and volunteers drop in and out whenever they like. Find out more here.
This beautiful community orchard in the south of the city welcomes volunteers. Maintenance Mornings are held twice a month, on the 2nd Sunday of the month and the 4th Thursday. Sessions run from 11am – 1pm on Sunday and from 10am – 12 on Thursdays. All the tools are provided, and the session will be led by a volunteer. Find out more about the orchard here (there is usually a list of work dates posted for the year).
Margaret Wright Community Orchard
This orchard, which is in Abbey Ward next to Whitehill allotments in Whitehill Road, hosts a number of events throughout the year. You can read more on their Facebook page.
Run by the Friends of Midsummer Common, this orchard has been growing since 2010 and is always looking for volunteers.
This horticulture therapy project offers meaningful work experience and outdoor therapy for the Cambridge homeless community. It runs every Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 10am – 1pm. Read more about the project on their website, or contact Ruth Nicholls (email@example.com, 07948 013091).
Darwin Nurseries is a horticulture project and farm shop where adults with disabilities have the opportunity to take part in supported work experience in horticulture, retail and animal care. The farm shop sells gardening equipment, seeds, plants and flowers; fresh local fruit and vegetables; meats; cakes; bread and artisan gourmet products; homemade jams, pickles and chutneys; and pet food. It is based in Newmarket Road, Teversham, Cambridge. Visit their Facebook page here and contact the service manager Mark Hall (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
If you are interested in starting up or developing a community growing space, you can find some extremely useful information on Verdant Earth’s website
The Tesco Bags of Help fund gives money to groups setting up growing projects, you can find out more here.