Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Day 121: Bristol Bristol Bristol

Phew. What a positively mental few days. I am finally getting round to putting a few words together about a couple of events I was lucky enough to attend over the weekend - Bristol's Organic Food Festival and Bristol Green Doors.

The weekend kicked off with the food festival. A wonderful display of organic produce - everything from locally grown veg to organic and ethically produced bedding - it was well worth the £5 entrance fee. I won't bore you with a stall-by-stall lowdown of what was on offer, suffice to say good times were had by all (especially when you throw in some Bath Ale). One stand-out stall was The Community Farm which is a lovely little project that brings together local produce from around the south-west. The volunteers were amazingly knowledgeable about the food and were damn proud of it too. They offer a weekly delivery of veg right to your door for a very reasonable price and, if you're feeling green, they welcome a hand at harvest time too.

So after a swift half of Bath Ale, it was time to hit the city of Bristol and have a sneaky peek into a few of the homes that had very kindly offered to open their doors and show us their greens. I only had time to visit three homes, but was lucky enough to visit three very different set-ups.

The first was a beautiful terraced Victorian house with the synonymous high ceilings and intricate coving - a total pain in the ass when trying to reduce your energy consumption. They had installed a solar water heating system that had practically slashed their gas bills to zero during the sunnier months. Another similar house had made the effective, but slightly less visible change, of insulating the walls, sealing the wooden floors and installing a wood burning stove (using sustainable wood, of course). The third house, crammed into a row of terraced houses on a narrow street, really was breathtaking. With little space to play with, they did what good ole' IKEA tells us - 'think cubic'. A Dahl-like stair case led up to a raised 'workshop' where a solar powered train-set whizzed around much to the delight of the children. Up yet another, even more tiny staircase, and you emerged in the middle of a greenhouse atop the roof of the garage (two-storeys up by this point) to find a fully utilised vegetable garden and 'green roof' - really quite an amazing feat. All the work of the home's owner, Simon Lewis and his marvelous company Bristol Green Roofs.

So, all in all, a very fun and very informative weekend. It was inspiring to see energy saving techniques that I had only heard about in the flesh and actually working, to see how it was making a difference to the environment and also to the lives of the people living there was invaluable. Now, if only I had a garage I could build a green roof on...

- James
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1 comment:

  1. Just signed up to The Community Farm - thanks for the recommendation !