Wow! Can you believe it’s already April? March has flown by. As the days get longer and the sun starts to shine a little stronger we can finally start to think about spring and the new growing season at the GrowUp Box – which means Roof East will soon be reopening to the public and the Box will be open every weekend.
Even though Roof East might have been closed over the winter, the Box has still been up and running and we held monthly open days in February, March (the next one is April 11th) for people to come and visit the Box.
In March we had a visit from the MRes Green Chemists from Imperial College London. Having completed the same course in 2014, our intern Mandy Zammit invited her old tutor and some of the current students up to the GrowUp Box to see what we’re getting up to. Like with most visitors to the GrowUp Box, the Chemists were keen to get up into the greenhouse and taste some of our produce, which we think is safe to say went down a storm.
We also hosted a workshop as part of “Make Grow Do”(an exciting new urban food growing network) in conjunction with Groundwork London. Groundwork is a national charity that works with communities across the UK supporting them to create better places, live and work in a greener, more sustainable way. Groundwork London played a big role in the coming together of Roof East, the home of the GrowUp Box, and so it was great to have them back up to the space. After a talk about urban agriculture and a tour of the GrowUp Box, the participants of the workshop were able to build their very own desktop hydroponic planters to take home. Despite the leaden skies and brisk northerly winds there were lots of smiling faces and the event was a success.
Our next visitors to the GrowUp Box were Dr Mike Dolton and some of his students from the MSc Sustainability & Management course at Royal Holloway University. Seeing the GrowUp Box and the exciting technologies we use to grow food gave the students an insight into what farming could look like when integrated into sustainable cities of the future.
If your school or university would like to arrange a visit to the Box get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.
Later in the month GrowUp HQ received a call from Phoenix School in Bow asking for some help with their new aquaponics system. Aquaponic Technician Oscar was dispatched on his GrowUp-mobile (OK, his bike) to lend a helping hand with the system. Having worked through the teething problems and given some useful tips Oscar was introduced to the newest tenants of the aquaponics room – some baby chicks! We know what you’re thinking…chicks? aquaponics? These guys are only temporary tenants taking advantage of the warm greenhouse. Once grown up they will join the other girls outside, playing an important role in teaching students how to care for living creatures and providing eggs for the food technology classes.