Growing Real Organic Food in Urban Neighbourhood

Following a big  GROFUN event in March 2011 a number of self-help groups are working on various themes – guerilla gardening in Kings Heath, community orchard in Highbury Park, gowing food in front and back gardens, coppicing in Highbury Park.  Contact for further information if you’re interested in getting involved in any of these projects.

Alys Fowler (writer and presenter) gave a  seed sowing demonstration and talk about growing your own food. Many thanks to Alys  Fowler  for a wonderfully  illuminating and lively evening,  inspiring us for the rest of the year. We also have some great photos of the event-  to follow soon.

The first Kings Heath  GROFUN group was initiated by Alys Fowler of BBC’s “Gardeners World” in 2009.  Some people from this group got together later to start up KIngs Heath Transition Initiaitve.

Alys also supported a second Grofun group in 2010. Grofun schemes involve groups of  local people working  co-operatively on each others’ gardens to grow real organic food, inspired by Bristol’s Grofun idea.


A group of about 10-12 people with gardens, or a yard, is ideal. The idea is that each participant contributes 10 hours of labour, or more – often more! The social bit takes over after a while, as the group gets to know each other. Then there are excellent shared lunches, a great temptation to attend, as each week they get bigger and better! In return for the 10 hours, a day is spent preparing and planting and, in many cases, transforming  each persons back, or front, garden, or yard. It’s amazing what a few people can do to a garden in a few hours! As a result there are many before and after, photographs, even a short film, which you can view at .

The experience of Grofun has been very satisfying and creative, bringing people together for a common good.

3 Responses to GROFUN 2011

  1. nadia catkin says:

    As the initiator of the first GRO-FUN scheme in Bristol, it gives me great satisfaction to read how the idea has spread all by itself. What’s happening now?
    Best wishes and keepy growing

    • Tom says:

      Dear Nadia
      Great to hear from you and thanks for your comment. Gro-fun has spurred a number of things here, but perhaps the biggest development has been the community orchard. This is a project in one of our local parks to restore part of Joseph Chamberlain’s “model farm”. So far a huge amount of work has gone into clearing part of what was a brambly wilderness and a Social Enterprise is being set up to really tackle an even bigger part of this land. We have a long way to go yet before we can start growing in earnest, but the project is in a great natural environment , and is also very visible to people. A short course on permaculture took place there recently.
      Bristol has been a great source of inspiration to us and maybe we could connect more.
      best wishes

  2. Pingback: The Case for Locally Grown Food in Birmingham | BETA - Birmingham Friends of the Earth - BETA

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