On 1st March 2010, a number of climate change activists swooped on an abandoned market garden site in Sipson, near Heathrow Airport, London. The site has since been transformed from "a derelict mess" into "a beacon of community strength and a great example of how to live sustainably on this planet," as the people involved describe it.
The initial aim of the project, which grew out of a campaign against a 3rd runway at Heathrow, was to return the Berkeley Nurseries site back to its intended purpose: a thriving market garden that would provide the local community with locally produced, organic fruits and vegetables, as well as a venue for related workshops and activities.
The site was initially occupied by activists in solidarity with the villagers whom BAA had been trying to force from their homes to make way for the airport expansion. Before the activists arrived, the derelict greenhouses were used by the owners to dump cars and other waste. Activists and local residents cleared the refuse, with the help of the local council, and restored the glass in the greenhouses, turning the land back into a market garden and a meeting space for activists and a hub for local residents and environmental activists to share knowledge and practical skills, including organic gardening, permaculture design, bicycle maintenance and wood and metal work. The project not only produces its own food, but is also generating its own solar energy, collecting rain water for the plants, fruit and vegetables, and so on. It has also hosted various events, from food growing workshops to direct action trainings.
The site has been facing eviction threats but the last court hearing has been adjourned to November 2011.
For more about Grow Heathrow, see its website at www.transitionheathrow.com
Also the video below, made with love by Just Do It