Gorilla tactics

Wednesday 29th June 2011
A long wait for allotments in the Sheffield area led to designer and developer Tony Carroll setting up Garden Gorilla – a scheme that aims to get residents growing food everywhere and anywhere.

Gorilla tactics

The 'instant' unofficial allotments are created on vacant land and unused community space and Tony explains: 'I grew up helping my father with the allotment that was bought by his father so it is in the blood. But when I contacted my local council as an adult to apply for an allotment I found out the waiting lists were anything up to eight years. I felt there was a need for people to be able to grow their own food and offering them the means and advice to do that.'

Spurred on by his childhood memories, Tony brought in some like-minded friends to share his vision and Garden Gorilla was born.

Their first simple bag allotment was installed on the street outside a dentist's surgery and after the local paper ran a story Tony found himself inundated with enquiries, including interested schools, the council and even the director of public health.

With such a demand, the team – who all have day jobs and no budget – approached a building supply company to help with materials and delivery. Garden Gorilla now has 50 sites around the Manchester area, most the size of a car-parking space, with more being added each week.

Tony continues: 'A lot of our sites are in and around schools but we also have them in company car parks, community centres and parks where flower beds are interplanted with fruit and vegetables – the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.'

Tony will be working with the Sheffield Food Festival (see Dates for the Diary) where Garden Gorilla will be setting up an instant allotment in the town centre to show visitors how easy it is to grow their own food. He is also looking at expanding the scheme to cover other areas of the country and interested in speaking to anyone who may be able to offer help. 
For more information, visit www.gardengorilla.co.uk.

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