Roots Out is a social enterprise aiming to encourage and support urban food growing in Nottingham. We are in the process of setting up an allotment site from which we intend to deliver a range of events and workshops centered around the growing and cooking of edible, nutritious food.
Permaculture is a system of design that harmonises with natural forces to sustainably promote biodiversity, resilience and abundance. Care for people is balanced with care for the earth, ensuring each gets a fair share.
Growing food encourages gentle, regular exercise, outdoor time and a balanced diet– all of which are essential to a healthy body. It also provides purpose and a great opportunity to socialise– both essential to a healthy mind.
The food we eat often travels thousands of miles to reach our plate- burning energy to do so. Growing food locally reduces the cost to both us and the planet, promotes biodiversity and absorbs carbon from the atmosphere.
Our team is mostly made up of recent or soon-to-be graduates of the University of Nottingham. We have biologists, ecologists, psychologists, engineers and photographers each with a wide range of skills and interests. We are also fortunate enough to have a number of local residents, mentors and organisations on board.
A wide range of edible vegetation will be planted in the outdoor growing spaces as a polyculture. Plants will be selected that do not compete with each, produce good yields and make use of the vertical space. Paths will be as narrow and curvey as possible to maximise the size of beds, trellis will be used where appropriate and drip irrigation wil be installed.
The orchard contains a range of both adult and younger apple trees. Upon removing the grass and digging over the topsoil, red clover will be planted as a green manure ground cover. A range of other bee-friendly plants will also be grown alongside perennial, edible herbs, shade-tolerant leafy greens and garlic under the canopy. Narrow pathways will be made of bark chipping.
The remnants of the old crumbled pizza oven will be removed to make space for a new reconstruction. An outdoor sink will be installed alongside work surfaces for an outdoor kitchen. A simple shelter will be raised around the facilities and hooked up to a water collection system. Herbs and leafy greens will be grown in the adjacent beds for easy access pizza toppings.
Wooden decking will be built on top of the stone patio. The decking will house numerous benches and be surrounded by seating made out of wooden pallets. Wooden posts will support a simple slanted roof, sheltering users and collecting water. These posts will ideally also support hammocks. Outdoor cushions will be sourced and plants will be grown wherever there is space.
The blue clubhouse needs quite a bit of rennovation but is structurally sound, well designed and connected to a composting toilet. Some walls need replastering to cover up mould, wiring needs repairing, cupboards replacing and a leaking pipe needs to be fixed. We hope to replace roof felt, install solar pannels and connect the guttering to a water collection system.
A chicken coop would be a great addition to the site, but we must first check with locals to determine whether or not this might be an issue. If there are no complaints, we will build a coop large enough for 5 rescued chickens from scratch out of wood and chicken wire. There is a concrete platform already in place which will protect the poultry from predators.
Many of the pathways are already in place and made out of concrete. They will need a bit of work clearing and removing weeds, edges of the path will be layered with bark chippings to supress overgrowth. Bark chipping will also be used to construct the paths that cross the site sideways, placed on top of a layer of cardboard to stop unwanted vegetation growing through.
The workshop is structurally sound but the doors need replacing and some minor repairs are required around the edges. This building will be primarily used as a tool shed but also contains a few worksurfaces which can be used for basic, small-scale woodwork. The roof needs a deep clean, but once complete can be hooked up to a water collection system at the rear.
We have built three compost bins out of heat treated wooden pallets. The inside of these pallets are layered but black plastic so that soil can be held together and small plants can be grown around the edges. The piles should receive organic green material and inorganic brown material at a ratio of 2:1 greens to browns alongside water and regular turning for good air flow.
There is fortunately already a pond membrane installed, we will need to remove the grime to determine whether it needs any repairs. Water that overflows from the uphill barrels will be fed into the pond and a spillway will then lead water across the path into the adjacent outdoor growing space. We are hopeful the local frogs will lay their eggs in this water feature.
There is a circular patch of grass surrounding a Notitngham Medlar that was planted when the site was first opened. We hope to construct a circular bench around the tree, and plant nice smelling herbs and shrubs such as lavendar and honeysuckle around the edge of the lawn. This space could be used for a range of outdoor activities such as eating and meditation.
The greenhouse has been cleared and is in need of a deep clean. Two-teired work surfaces will be built to house drip trays and seedling modules. The vast majority of our plants will begin life in this seed nursery. Space will be left to feed water directly into the drip trays, allowing the seedlings to soak up water as it is needed and reducing the chance of them drying out.
The polytunnel needs a new cover or a deep clean, the doors need repairing and the contents needs to be removed. Once clear, worksurfaces will be built along one side to create more space for growing young plants from seed. The other side of the polytunnel will be reserved for productive, fast growing plants that will benefit from the extra warmth and shelter.
The straw bale building is a low priority project, but a cheaply constructed, insulated and large indoor space would be a great addition to the site. It could be used as a classroom, for yoga classes, storytelling, arts and crafts, as an eating space and a wide range of other functions. It could have windows in the roof and an entrance connecting directly to the orchard.