Notes Another partial episode. Every one of the bits I’ve posted is going to be heavily rewritten, I know, but most of them wrapped up in their first draft.
The Flower Fairies started out as geurilla gardeners, but now they’re mainstream. Their ongoing mission is to turn car parks into meadows.
The Charles Street multi storey car park is wedged between a railway viaduct and student accommodation. It’s an odd location for a farm. Most days there’s a stall by the main entrance selling herbs and eggs and mushrooms. I pick up the basis of an omelette and ask how the farm works.
Compostable material is collected and brought to the farm. Here it is stored in the basement, where there are three sections of compost in various stages of mulching. The oldest is a rich deep brown mix ready to be taken out in the spring and used with next year’s crops. The middle batch was collected last year and has been left alone since the spring. It will get a thick layer of leaves when the trees start shedding and then be left for another year. The newest section holds this year’s ongoing collection of green waste.
Come spring the oldest compost will be shifted up to the roof, or into the mushroom trays on the ground floor, to be used as super soil. The emptied section will start collecting next year’s compost. There’s not a lot of space on the top floor, relative to a proper field, so the crops are high value- herbs and leafy vegetables.
The middle two floors are given over to the chickens. Internal fences keep them off the roof, but little chicken walkways let them come and go so they can scratch for food amongst the local greenery. Nesting boxes are set up on the exit ramps so that eggs can be easily collected. Every few weeks the chicken guano is shovelled out and added to the compost mix for extra nutrition.
The Flower Fairies don’t own the multi storey building. Nor are they leasing it. But the owners haven’t, for whatever reason, tried to wrest back control.
Other Fairy projects aren’t as complicated. They started out seed bombing derelict land then moved on to pulling up cracked tarmac and concrete to see what was underneath. Before long they were ripping up whole car parks and cultivating what was revealed. There’s the occasional abandoned vehicle to be found where they’re working, but they just plant around them.