Helping you grow your own food right in the heart of your community 
We're working with schools, communities, surgeries, libraries and lots of other organisations to create instant allotments all over the region.

We can provide all the containers, soil, seeds and even some tools to get you going. All you have to do is just add water and a little of your time. We'll even organise an expert to help you get the best from your new food garden.

If you are a teacher, parent, community leader, business representative or just a good neighbour get in touch to see if we are in your area yet.


We're always on the lookout for additional Partners to help us make these great initiatives happen in your own neighbourhood. Visit our partners page and contact us to get your business involved.



Garden Gorilla is proud to be a not for profit operation.

In The Garden with BBC Radio Sheffield

posted 23 Jul 2011, 07:02 by Tony Carroll   [ updated 24 Jul 2011, 04:18 ]

Tune in to BBC Radio Sheffield at 9am this Sunday to hear us In The Garden with Rony Robinson on BBC Radio Sheffield. Regular garden guru Neil Grant is away so once again we're stepping into the breech to help with listeners gardening questions 9:00 to 10:00. Listen online 88.6FM 104.1FM DAB.

The programme can be listened to again on the BBC iPlayer until 31 July www.bbc.co.uk/i/p00j1b3q

The Sheffield Food Festival was a TOTAL success

posted 13 Jul 2011, 06:36 by Tony Carroll

For a week our web page was donated to the 2011 Sheffield Food Festival and there's loads of updates, phots, mentions and links on the SFF page. Click here to take a look.

Failed allotment update

posted 7 Jul 2011, 13:00 by Andrew McCormick

Ignore my June post about the number of failed allotments in schools. The true figure is nearly 90%, despite the fact that over half of schools have a growing area. Obviously this means that there is little chance of any educational, behavioural, or health and well being outputs. For GG the reason is obvious, and the solution is evidenced by what's happening on GG plots throughout the region. All you need is some community involvement, a dash of common sense, and less red tape.

Over half of school allotments unused or failed

posted 19 Jun 2011, 04:09 by Andrew McCormick   [ updated 19 Jun 2011, 04:11 ]

As we travel round schools we have found that over half of existing growing areas are either unused or overgrown. This clearly demonstrates that without the necessary support structures in place there is little point in just chucking money at sites and expecting the right results. That's why every Garden Gorilla site will have either community involvement or a dedicated Plot Leader. The GG model of Build, Sustain, and Educate places equal importance on each of these three areas, but it is becoming increasingly evident that without a Plan to Sustain, projects will invariably fail

Gorilla action for volunteers at Seven Hills

posted 11 Jun 2011, 05:12 by Tony Carroll   [ updated 12 Jun 2011, 23:53 ]

 

  

 

The latest community plot to get the Garden Gorilla treatment was a huge former garden area tucked away in a corner at the new Seven Hills and All Saints schools in Sheffield.

Our group of volunteers from the Sheffield office of the Department for Education turned out early in the morning equipped with tools and a sense of trepidation at the task ahead. 

Over the day we removed the nettle overgrowth that towered over the old planters and saplings that grew through the paving. A planter was stripped down and we created the first new composting area into which went most of the huge quantity of green waste that was piled high on site.

They say that every army marches on it's stomach and that was certainly true on Friday. 

The school and Dr Rav provided an endless supply of tea, coffee and sandwiches for the working party which made sure that everyone left with smiles and a full belly!

Friday was the project's first Garden Gorilla Party and two more will be coming very soon. Eventually the plot will have a mix of easy to access tall planters, sleeper beds and traditional dug allotment beds that will be next to the planned fruit orchard. 

So we're now on the lookout for Gorilla Growers to get involved to take on the allotment with the schools when it's ready for growing.

Well done everyone. We hope that you'll be back for more very soon!

Nuts

posted 7 Jun 2011, 23:20 by Tony Carroll   [ updated 8 Jun 2011, 04:22 ]

In front of my house there is a lovely green stretch of grass verge. 

It's lovely because my neighbour mows it more often than I do but since I live around a thousand feet above sea level on the edge of the Peak District hills it's always windy. In fact it's so windy that the handsome cherry blossom trees at the roadside take so much of a pounding that they all lean away from the prevailing south westerly winds and our cherry blossom fell victim. 

Our grass verge is empty. I've been having a chat with the man at the council to get a new tree put in. "Fruit or nut please" I tell him but the answer is a straightforward "no". 

He tells me that there are two problems - money and the police. 

OK, I get the first problem. They are waiting until a new 25 year £2bn highways PFI begins before planting anything new along the roads. That makes sense if you're a council even if it doesn't make much sense otherwise. 

But the police? It turns out that the council won't plant fruit or nut trees any more because they might provide ammunition for children to throw at cars, people and property. WHAT? That must rank up there with some of the all time most useless council excuses for not doing something. 

I'm going to do some of the other kind of digging to find out if this really is a problem or if it's just a figment of the collective council imagination. Watch this space.

Connection between healthy eating and school exam results?

posted 5 Jun 2011, 09:26 by Andrew McCormick   [ updated 5 Jun 2011, 09:48 by Tony Carroll ]

Couple of interesting articles in today's Sunday Express. Have posted copies onto the GG facebook and LinkedIn sites. In the first article the Food For Life Partnership seek to make a connection between healthy eating and pupil ability to concentrate, assering that good food at lunchtime makes them four times more likely to concentrate in the afternoon. The second article reports on how schools in the West Country have hired nurses to ring parents and offer one-to-one sessions on healthy eating, in reponse to the finding that one in three final year primary school children are clinically obese or dangerously overweight. Whilst you can always make an argument about the use of studies and statistics, some are difficult to refute, such as the fact that we are getting fatter earlier.
Whilst these types of reports would seemingly offer help to fledgling under-resourced social enterprises like Garden Gorilla, our own experience of working in schools tells us that teaching staff rarely cite issues such as obesity or concentration as the major benefit of running a growing programme. They usually focus on the behavioural aspects, and how the use of the allotment or growing area enhances the curriculum. On a recent visit to a school in the High Green area of Sheffield one of the teachers told us that she regarded the time spent with her children in the garden as the most valuable time she spent. Sometimes purely anecdotal evidence is the best!

Rainbow Forge Primary makes a change

posted 24 May 2011, 23:09 by Tony Carroll   [ updated 24 May 2011, 23:17 ]

A whirlwind meeting with Headteacher Rob at Rainbow Forge in Hackenthorpe has left us with an intriguing problem - too much space!

We often find that primary schools are on tight urban sites with little green space. But Rainbow Forge is different - it's a former secondary school and as a result it has acres and acres of fields and greenery. 

So we have a plan for something more dramatic than usual and with Rob's support we're devising a community allotment right in the heart of the school to go alongside the existing planting beds. In addition the greenhouse is looking a little shabby so we'll see if we can spruce it up and perhaps install a rainwater recycling system.

By popular demand...

posted 24 May 2011, 23:02 by Tony Carroll   [ updated 24 May 2011, 23:08 ]

We love to talk to people and up to now we've done most of our regular talking face-to-face and through our Facebook page. 

Recently we've had lots of requests to post news at www.gardengorilla.co.uk because lots of people still can't access Facebook at work. So, here it is, the new News page. We hope that it's useful and interesting.

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