We’re taking part in Bristol’s Get Growing Trail, taking place on the 18th & 19th September. A celebration of the city’s productive green spaces, 22 community allotments, orchards, smallholdings, mini market gardens, city farms and productive parks are taking part, throwing open their doors to the public and offering everything from apple juice-making to garden tours to nature trails.

As in previous years, gardens on the Trail will be highlighting their nature-friendly growing methods and approaches with a wealth of tips, ideas and insights for visitors to take back and share at their own plot, garden or even window box. All in a bid to support and encourage more nature-friendly growing in the city.

Here at Windmill Hill City Farm, we’ll be offering free tours of the productive gardens run by Community Gardener Beth at 10.30 & 11.30 on Saturday 18th. Beth is responsible for all things vegetable related, choosing, planting and tending to crops with plenty of help from our lovely volunteers. All our food and flowers are grown following organic principles, to help wildlife and minimise our impact on the environment. Produce is harvested by volunteers and sold in our own farm shop, used in dishes in our award-winning café and distributed via our new veg box scheme.

June is when the city’s community growing spaces have previously opened for the Get Growing Trail. With the event cancelled in June 2020 and with the situation still unclear for the usual June 2021 Trail, Bristol Food Network (BFN) instead hosted a digital version of the Trail in June 2021, showcasing some of the amazing growing sites around the city digitally. Groups sent in ‘homemade’ short videos which BFN stitched together into this short film.

The lockdowns prompted a lot of people to Get Growing for the first time, and this has inevitably had a knock-on effect in the increasing numbers on allotment waiting lists. Getting involved in community growing offers people another way to Get Growing – and to learn amongst others in a supportive, friendly environment. We don’t have a huge amount of volunteering opportunities ourselves right now, but many other organisations taking part in the trail are looking for help.

As well as garden tours offered by us, other gardens are running activities including seed sowing, fun games for kids, apple juice-making, the opportunity to pick up some new plants and fresh produce, delicious lunch and snack stops, wildlife-friendly gardening tips, and Bristol’s first fully wheelchair-accessible dementia-friendly allotment. Full details of all 22 garden openings can be found at www.bristolfoodnetwork.org and Trail maps are available in our reception, or view the PDF here.

All openings are subject to current government Covid-19 restrictions. Please check the Bristol Food Network website for any updates.

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