Urban Activities at The Biospheric Foundation

The Biospheric Foundation have launched a programme of Urban Activities, an exciting mixture of tours, workshops, courses and other events for local people to see the innovative growing systems in their mill and to take part in fun and educational activities.

There is a weekend organised in November for people to learn about and help out in their forest garden. There are also days to find out about wild food, herbal medicines and how to care for trees.

Tree Care – Sun 13 Oct – 9:30am – 5pm

Wild Food Day – Sun 26 Oct – 9:30am – 5pm

Herbal Medicine Day – Sun 10 Nov – 9:30am – 5pm

Forest Garden Weekend – Sat 16 – 17 Nov – 10am – 5pm each day

For bookings or queries phone: 0161 839 6872 or e-mail to: activities@biosphericfoundation.com

There are limited spaces so book your place quickly.

Concession: if you are an East-Salford resident you may qualify for a price reduction on all courses.

See more at: http://www.biosphericproject.com/urban-activities

Volunteering Opportunities at The Biospheric Foundation – Open Day this Saturday!

The Biospheric Foundation would like to invite you to a Volunteering Open Day at Irwell House on Saturday 7th September, 11.00am-2.00pm.

The Biospheric Foundation has transformed a disused mill on the banks of the River Irwell in Blackfriars into a thriving agricultural space. Part farm, part laboratory and part research centre, it is investigating how to grow and distribute food in cities at a time of rising food prices, climate change and growing urban populations around the world.

The Irwell Valley Sustainable Communities Project is proud to be working with the Biospheric Foundation to develop volunteering opportunities for local people and develop a social enterprise, ’78 Steps’, selling fresh fruit and vegetables to East Salford residents.

Vincent and Steve from the Biospheric Foundation in '78 Steps', the new wholefood shop

Vincent and Steve from the Biospheric Foundation in ’78 Steps’, the new wholefood shop

The event on Saturday will give people a chance to meet the team and discuss the different ways that you can get involved.There are a range of volunteering opportunities coming up including:

– helping run the new ’78 Steps’ wholefood shop and ‘Wholebox’ delivery service

– helping run Biospheric’s urban activities with the community

– administration duties

– finance and accounting duties

– developing food systems such as an aquaponics system and growing mushrooms

– helping in the Forest Garden

The Community Reporters recently took a visit to find out more about the activities happening in the mill and the new wholefood shop in Blackfriars. Please take a look at their short film:


Julie, one of the project's researchers admiring the chickens on the roof top of the Biospheric Project.

Julie, one of the project’s community researchers, admiring the chickens on the roof top of the Biospheric Project.

If you are interested in finding out more about volunteering, please head down to the Biospheric project at 11am on 7th September. Please confirm your attendance by emailing Ben van Ooij, Project Manager at the Biospheric Foundation – ben@biosphericfoundation.com

If you are unable to make it on Saturday but are keen to talk to Biospherics about volunteering please contact Ben van Ooij to express your interest.

Find out where they are based in Blackfriars by visiting their website: http://www.biosphericproject.com

Volunteers from River View Primary School create new growing spaces

A big thanks to all the volunteers at River View Primary School, who came back into school for the day to build new beds for growing vegetables. A Gardening Club was set up at the school in June with help from the Irwell Valley Sustainable Communities Project and Salix Homes. Every Thursday in term time, members of the Gardening Club have been busy growing vegetables in the school grounds with help from Garden Needs.

Building beds for vegetable growing at River View Primary School

Building beds for vegetable growing at River View Primary School

On 21st August a team of volunteers from the Club came back into school to get dirty and build some raised beds. They were very happy to find the courgettes, tomatoes and radishes they had planted were doing very well.

Apprentices from Garden Needs lend a hand

Apprentices from Garden Needs lend a hand

Volunteers from the gardening club at River View Primary School

A big thanks to everyone that helped out!

The Club has plans to keep on growing the spaces available to plant edible goodies. A community orchard is planned and the Club would like to build more planting areas ready for next Spring.

If you have a child that attends River View Primary School and you would like to join the Gardening Club then just come along on a Thursday, straight after school!

Volunteers Provide a Feast at the Fun Day!

Volunteers from the cooking course at The Broughton Trust went Al Fresco at the fun day in June to demonstrate easy ways to cook with vegetables. The fun day was organised to launch a new community growing site on Meadow Road in Lower Broughton where residents can sign up to plots to grow their own vegetables.

Sharlene, Carol-Ann, Tina and Kate prepared delicious vegetarian tortillas (called Quesadillas) and recipes were given out for people who fancied cooking them at home. Many of the children munching on the wraps found out they were eating spinach for the first time!

Kate Heron at Volunteer Fun Day

Cooking up a feast at the Fun Day!

” It was a great day and we gave away 600 slices of Quesadilla! There was a great buzz around us as we chopped, cooked and handed out the food. The great thing that came out of this is that adults and children tried new vegetables, cheeses and flavours that they had never tasted before. People came back for more and asked for recipes.” Kate Heron, cooking tutor at The Broughton Trust.

Kate became a cooking tutor after completing a PTTLs teaching qualification with The Broughton Trust. If you would like to find out more about doing this qualification please contact the Trust on 0161 831 9807.

Giving away 600 slices of Quesadilla

“..we gave away 600 slices of Quesadilla!”

Fun Day in June to Launch New Growing Site


IMG_0070 On June 9th the Irwell Valley Sustainable Communities Project and Salix Homes organised a fun day at the new community growing space on Meadow Road in Lower Boughton to encourage residents to sign up for the spare growing plots. The turn out was fantastic and hundreds of residents came along to see the new growing space and plant up edible hanging baskets containing strawberries, tomato plants and herbs. Groundwork were also encouraging people to plant up old wellies, shoes and pots and pans.


To cool down from the sun, there was an opportunity to make your own smoothies with the help of the Health Improvement Team but only if you hopped onto the ‘smoothie’ bike and used pedal power to mix it! The pedal powered juke box also proved very popular.

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The ‘Grown In, Brought ‘On’ growing space started its life behind the Mocha Parade shops on land awaiting development and has been designed so that it can be moved around and can find a new home when the land is needed again.The new site on Meadow Road is a derelict piece of land that was once the University’s engineering building. It is a huge secure space with opportunity to expand the current growing area. Every resident who signs up receives a key to the site and there is also a shaded area to sit and relax and a secure container for tools.

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To help residents get started growing on a new plot, Groundwork organised four Saturday afternoon sessions after the fun day to offer top gardening tips. There are still plots available and anyone interested should contact Georgina Neild from Salix Homes on 0161 779 8989.


The event was organised in partnership with Red Rose Forest who organised music, nature walks, pond dipping and face painting on The Meadows area nearby.


Cooking Healthy Chow Mein on the ‘Food Glorious Food’ Cooking Course

Cooking Healthy Chow Mein on the Sustainable Cooking Course