HoTT has secured funding to start an Incredible Edible Group, focusing on community vegetable and fruit growing in Holmfirth. HoTT is very excited to be starting this new project to further enhance the sustainability in our local environment and reduce our carbon footprint. HoTT recognises the need to work with others to bring about lifestyle change, both by raising awareness of a more sustainable way of living, and supporting the community to achieve this goal.
HoTT (Holmfirth Transition Town) secured a £2,000 grant in May 2017 from the Bright Green Community Trust, which has been set up to help fund projects across the Holme Valley Parish and the Graveship of Holme focused on carbon reduction, to start an Incredible Edible Group focusing on community vegetable and fruit growing in the Holme Valley.
With the award of the grant the HoTT Edible group set up meetings with Kirklees Council, Holmfirth Parish Council and local businesses to explore suitable sites in the valley to start growing edible plants with a view to improving sustainability in the local environment and helping to reduce our carbon footprint by providing free local food to the community. The plan is not to re-invent the wheel in establishing community edible plant growing but to follow the example of other towns/city’s that have successful edible plant growing programmes already in place like the local town of Todmordon and Bristol. Members of the HoTT Edible team visited Todmerdon at the beginning of the summer to find out how and why the local community has been so successful in getting the whole town, including local businesses and local public services involved in their incredible edible programme before embarking on our own project.
In this early research period the HoTT Edible group linked up with the Friends of Holmfirth Library and Tourist Information Centre (FOHLATIC) who were keen to develop planting areas outside the library and on Hollowgate in Holmfirth. The group gained the agreement of Longley Farm to install the first cultivated beds in the old car park next door to the Longley Café. With the assistance of a local company, ABG Ltd, who manufacture geotechnical products from recycled plastic, a plan was formed to create a showcase edible food area right in the centre of Holmfirth using a combination of recycled plastic pods and recycled railway sleepers. Following a site clearance by Longley Farm of the various bushes and plants that had taken over the area Geogreen Solutions (working on behalf of ABG Ltd) commenced the install of the structural planting pods filling them with soil kindly donated by Brooklands Nursery at Totties.
Planting of the pods took place on the 7th July 2017 and since then the old car park area has been transformed with the growth of a range of produce including, broad beans, cabbages, cauliflowers, kale, rocket, broccoli, spinach, carrots, herbs, apple trees and other fruit bushes through the summer and autumn. As the planting did not commence until well into the growing season the overall food yield this year has been limited, the produce having been made available free to people visiting Holmfirth Library and volunteers who have helped with the planting and maintenance of the installation through the summer. FOHLATIC also established food planting in the small bed next to the library and outside the shelter on Hollowgate ensuring that the group achieved its project objective of getting the first three sites growing edible plants during 2017.
The HoTT Edible group will be looking to expand in 2018 on the initial planting established over the summer to include new areas around the town but we need more volunteers to join our enthusiastic team to help with planting, maintaining and harvesting the produce for the community to enjoy free of charge. Involvement means giving a few hours each month to either develop plant or maintain one of the many suitable sites that have identified around the town. The HoTT Edible group will be asking for volunteers to help with growing seedlings in early spring ready for planting out in various locations around the valley in May 2018.