Transition Heathrow turns wasteland into community garden
Community activists from the group Transition Heathrow have taken over an abandoned market garden threatened by the third runway. Around lunchtime, 20 people "swooped" on the land in Sipson, one of the villages due for demolition if the third runway at Heathrow goes ahead.
More photos on Transition Heathrow's Flickr stream.
After securing the site, the group immediately informed their new neighbours and local residents of their intention to reopen the old market garden for the benefit of the local community. The 'Grow Heathrow' project aims to encourage and support locally grown produce in an area that once had some of the most fertile soils in Britain.
Transition Heathrow has launched the project to highlight the need for a community controlled food supply in order to remain resilient to the impacts of peak oil and climate change. It intends to use the old market garden not only for growing, but also for activities such as bike workshops, clothes making, solidarity support for local workers and direct action workshops for people trying to stop the third runway.
Transition Heathrow member and local resident Joe Rake, described the events of the day. "Around lunchtime, a group of us walked onto the site. Once we had secured the gate, we set about telling local residents why we were there and inviting them to join in. We also had to start tidying up as it appeared to have been used for scrapping cars. Since the last tenants were evicted, the site has attracted unsavoury characters, so we wanted to restart the market garden for the good of the local community."
Many of those involved in the 'swoop' see today's action as a positive way of resisting the third runway whilst building an alternative community solution in its place. Heathrow resident Amy Summer said "We've been fighting the threat of the third runway for years, and its blighted our community. This kind of action not only helps stop expansion but also helps regenerate the area, providing local skills, green jobs and organic produce instead."
"This form of direct action is just as important as sitting on a runway, blockading the bulldozers or striking for more green jobs. There's no point in growing your own veg if it's going to be covered in tarmac by BAA. At the same time there's no point in community resistance if there's no community left to defend. We have to do both," she added.