“Where our children’s children will know how to grow food and do it locally”

The latest Bristol Bites Back Better blog post is by Caroline Penny describing the work of Tynings Field Community Group. Tynings Field is a community horticultural smallholding initiative on an acre of land in Shirehampton. The group normally welcome volunteers when it is safe to do so.

Tynings Field was threatened landscape at a time when park land was being sold for housing development. But 10 years later this community group is a small but flourishing Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Founded by myself Caroline Penny and the late Jim Penny in Shirehampton, Tynings Field Community Group was a Bristol European Green Capital pioneering project. Voted “one to watch’, we hope we’ve proved it was worth watching and its promise of producing fresh food in the city continues. A non-profit non-business model – it’s just farming for fun and for food.

Set in a corner just off the Severn walkway not far from Horseshoe Bend Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSI) is a small field banked by allotments and a railway line. The wildlife is diverse and the habitat rich with a copse by a hidden natural pond. Veg plots, an orchard of 24 grown fruit trees, blackberries, raspberries, poultry and bees. Yet it is within a housing estate. 

Here the members of the group work to grow veg for themselves and share out the excess. It is not a big group: only about 15 people work here (and not all at once) on small productive plots. We are relishing the fact we can provide seasonal food for ourselves. Also, the hens provide eggs of many colours and sizes. 

Our beekeeper Csba and Carl’s hives provide raw Bristol honey. Last year the bees feasted on Japanese knotweed in Sea Mills and the honey was deliciously purple! We have created a daisy meadow of wildflowers, including oxeye daisy, vipers bugloss and corncockle. The summer orchard is a haven for insects and the plums are good. We grow with no pesticides at all.

Our aim is to work as a team and as individuals to put on our plates what we produce. As one group all from different backgrounds and countries in Europe we eat to our own taste and recipes. 

The ideal of sustainable living on a planet facing challenges of climate change where our children’s children will know how to grow food and do it locally is the whole epitome of a summers day working in Tynings Field. 

We welcome volunteers in the field and also there are many organised work days with groups. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates.

By setting the wheels in motion now, together we can transform the future of food in our city, building in resilience over the next decade. So, what change do you want to see happen that will transform food in Bristol by 2030? Do you already have an idea for how Bristol can make this happen? Join the conversation now.

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