Transition Cambridge is a loose federation of voluntary groups involved in raising awareness and practical projects to help Cambridge make the transition to ways of life that are more resilient in the face of rising energy prices and a changing climate.
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
Check out their map to see if there’s a space near you.
• Grow your own : Learn how to grow your own vegetables!
This Food Group offers learning and sharing opportunities for growers of all abilities.
“Grow Your Own” sessions currently take place at Foster Road allotments in Trumpington, on a well-established organic plot growing vegetables, herbs and fruit in narrow bed and forest garden systems. Sessions are held approximately once a month on Saturday mornings during the growing season.
They can also offer, by arrangement, occasional mentoring sessions when you can shadow an experienced grower to get hands on experience and answers to any questions that come to mind.
If you are:
interested in taking part in these activities, or
an experienced grower willing to share your skills at another location in or near Cambridge
then please get in touch here
The Fruit Harvest Project uses various methods of tackling and utilising fruit and veg gluts.
Check out their extremely useful Cambridge Fruit Map
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.
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 now 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.
The Friends of Rock Road Library garden volunteers meet on the last Friday of the month at 2pm to tend the garden, which has a heritage orchard and wildlife garden.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org, 07948 013091).
• Riverside Garden Project
Riverside is a national housing association and registered provider of social housing. In January 2016 efforts were made to start up a Social and Therapeutic Horticulture project on the deserted allotment space. Read more via Ruth’s blog, and contact Ruth through email@example.com.
Run by Headway, this project aims to bring experienced and not so experienced gardeners together, along with people who have suffered brain injuries. A vital part of brain injury treatment is horticultural therapy, which helps to increase psychological, physical and emotional well-being. The scheme will run from mid-September 2016 until mid-March 2017: 10.30am – 12.30pm every Thursday at the Headway Garden, situated at Ida Darwin, Fulbourn, near Cambridge; 2.30pm – 4.30pm every Thursday at the Headway Garden at Thorpe Hall in Peterborough. Transport costs will be covered. If you would like to volunteer and be part of this very special project, please contact Simon Lacey (firstname.lastname@example.org, 01223 576550).
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 (email@example.com) 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