We were recently contacted by Dr Michael Hardman from the University of Salford who wanted to find out more about our initiatives to improve the neighbourhood in Birchfield. He calls it Guerrilla Gardending, we just call it Community Planting, but the result is the same, better places for people. Here is what he had to say about the subect;
‘This picture shows ‘F Troop’, a group of guerrilla gardeners I followed for many years, planting nasturtiums and other vegetation alongside an inner-city dual carriageway in the West Midlands
It is often labelled ‘illegal’ or an ‘informal’ occupation of land, but it is an activity on the rise across the UK. Whilst the practice may be conducted without permission, it is certainly not illegal: no guerrilla gardener has ever been arrested. My experience researching guerrillas shows how these individuals often transforms spaces for the better and helps to turn grey, lifeless neighbourhoods into havens for greenery or even produce.
In the West Midlands, groups and individuals have had huge positive impacts on their communities through the activity, such as an elderly lady in South Birmingham, who transformed her council-owned alleyways into food corridors for her neighbours.
On a wider level, many ‘formal’ urban growing schemes have started through guerrilla gardening, such as the somewhat famous Incredible Edible Todmorden, which began through residents colonising land without permission; the network is now global and sees many replicating the idea in towns/cities across the UK and the world!’
Dr Michael Hardman, Lecturer in Geography, University of Salford