Growers Hub

Over 200 celebrate the creation of a new Roots Allotments growing community in Stourbridge

Written by
April 10, 2024

It’s a special thing being able to bring so many like minded people together and enjoy such a special place that our Sugar Loaf Fields community has become. We put on a lovely day of fun and talks that helped us feel grounded in why we are all part of the grow your own movement, whether a market gardener, horticulturist or allotmenteer we all had a platform to discuss why we all see a positive future in growing local food.

From the snail grand national to welly wanging, we had a ton of fun and also managed to raise £370 for the Ruskin Mill Trust ( through our Roots raffle that had some amazing prizes from Passenger Clothing, Charles Dowding, Tomato Revolution, Tamar Organics and Urban Herbs - thank you so much to our kind prize donors it’s lush to be able to spread good vibes outside of our allotment communities. The money raised goes to their student council enrichment fund which goes towards a college student trip at the end of the summer term!

We heard from Paul & Emma who run Wild Wisdom Farm a no-dig regenerative farm just down the road from our location, where the highest nutrient density of the produce is their primary goal together with maximising the biodiversity of the land. We need more food growers gardens in the world and finding them access to land is a topic that comes up time and time again!

Next up was Charles who is a volunteer for Ruskin Mill Trust with the experience of being a Landworker and Tutor at Valehead Biodynamic Farm. He spoke about thee primary work of the Trust being to re imagine the potential of their students through Practical Skills Therapeutic Education (PSTE). The vision of the Trust is that each individual has the potential to shape their own future through experiencing meaningful relationships with universe, earth and people.

Lloyd, Founder, of Riverside House gave a passionate speech about running an ambitious social regeneration project located at a derelict and neglected grade II listed 19th Century iron masters house and grounds.Through thick and thin he has managed to turn the space around and now it helps runs a brilliant programme to a diverse and inclusive community. This includes anything from social prescribing, working with people with ASD and local schools and colleges.

Finally we heard from Andy of Urban herbs who gave a passionate speech that beautifully summarised the reasons behind why we grow, whether it’s community, wellbeing, biodiversity or nutrition we should all take an interest in where our food comes from and the the fellow humans who we experience life with.

Asides from talks, one of our members, Amy, baked an incredible cake that was shared between many people! Some serious bake off skills were on show and we all appreciated it! We also had the fab Lisa of the Silver Cafe Co to supply hot and cold refreshments throughout the day. The airstream was super cool and totally fitted our vibe - thank you for coming along!

The day ended with us all feeling super inspired and grateful for this green space that our members can now come to and share and connect over the power of growing!

1) No digging needed! Your Back Will Thank You

Yes, it’s true. You’ll be picking bountiful harvests without needing to dig, turn or fork the earth! Your back will thank you because digging takes about 2 x times longer than No dig. Beds are made by covering your growing ground in cardboard and placing nutrient rich compost on top - giving you a surface that’s ready to plant straight away!

2) Less weeding 

Weeds get suppressed by the layer of cardboard and compost, they then die off because of no sunlight! If soil stays undisturbed then weeds and their seeds are more likely to stay locked into the ground instead of sprouting when disturbed on a traditionally dug allotment.

3) Feeding the soil creates healthier plants

By building yearly layers of organic matter and not disturbing the soil’s ecosystem, you will increase the amount of good microbial activity. Good microbes help plants access nutrients and water, so the healthier your soil - the healthier your plants! 

4) You’ll do less watering!

No dig beds retain moisture better because you’re introducing organic matter, not taking it away. By keeping the soil’s ecosystem in-tact and encouraging bacteria, fungi and worms to do their thing will create better layers of soil that save water for when your plants need it - instead of bare dug ground that leaks moisture! Water is a precious resource and no dig helps us make the most of every drop!

5) Higher Yields Are Scientifically proven!

No dig has been proven to produce significantly higher yields by Charles Dowding over the last 9 years at his Homeacres Farm. He has been weighing the results of identically planted dug vs no dig beds and over that time the results are 100’s of kg’s greater.

6) Reduce Single-Use Plastic! <3 The Planet!

Every harvest throughout the seasons means you’ll be totally cutting out vast amounts of single use plastic that is used in supermarket produce! The supply chains we rely on use way too much making no dig a great way to start reducing personal consumption of single use plastic.

7) Experience Less pests & diseases

The result of great soil health by the no-dig method helps good bacteria, insects and animals thrive! Using natural methods of pest control we can learn to work with nature instead of against it - a single teaspoon of healthy rich soil can contain up to 1 billion bacteria!.

8) You’ll help fungal networks and they’ll help your plants grow

Fungi are a super important part of running a productive healthy patch. When soil is full of life and undisturbed there will be miles and miles of fungal networks beneath your feet trading nutrients with each other and your plants.

9) Save time and be 40% more productive by no dig!

When you don’t need to spend hours and hours digging, turning and prepping the soil for planting, you’ll be able to spend it doing the fun creative side of gardening - planning, planting, pruning your patch to create your own edible zen garden.

As a bonus you will also feel the mental and physical boost of growing your own

Gardening and feeding yourself with incredibly fresh nutrient dense food has amazing positive side effects for both people and the planet. As time goes by you’ll feel closer and more at one with nature.