Rotary Club of Rochdale

Projects that our club is working on.

Galleries.

The Bank Gallery in Castleton is open every weekend from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. It is easy to find, at the junction of Queensway and Manchester Road. Geoff Butterworth, the artist, is usually there to give visitors the opportunity to 'meet the artist'. the full address is:- 847-849 Manchester Road, Castleton, Rochdale. OL11 2UY. It is a two minute walk from Castleton Station.

A new pop up gallery is to open soon in the Rochdale Exchange shopping centre. The official opening is expected mid February.

Urban Farm  http://www.accessible-edibles.org   Rtns David Acton & Mike Tomkinson.

Medic Malawi   http://www.medicmalawi.org/   Rtn John Holder

Befriending   http://www.wellbeingrochdale.info/Pages/DetailsSubjects.aspx?ID=5428

Rtn Mike Tomkinson

Petrus   http://www.petrus.org.uk/   Rtn Elvet Smith

Classic Car Show, July 16th 2017. Details here:-

http://www.rochdaleclassiccarshow.org.uk

Please contact the members above to find out how YOU can help. Contact details are in the Rotary Membership Booklet, or contact secretary Keith Banks at keith.banks4@btinternet.com

 

UrbanFarm Project.

UPDATE NOVEMBER 2015

The UrbanFarm Cassette Planter that was mentioned in the previous update has now been developed into a new product called the Parallel Bar Planter.

Two of our members have set up a company to manufacture and sell this product under a not for profit arrangement.

The Parallel Bar Planter has been developed from, and now helps support our Accessible-Edibles project.

We know that in particularly deprived areas of the developing world, we can help to fund the purchase of seed and compost for selected new projects following which they will become self-funding. 

Funds for this work are generated from the sale of our Parallel Bar Planters.

For details of this product and to make a purchase please go to: http://www.carryongrowing.com/

Update - August 2014.

The latest development is the UrbanFarm Cassette Planter, an assembly of parallel bars and custom designed polythene hammocks, which fit across the parallel bars to support the polythene cassettes, which in turn accommodate the growing medium and plants.

The height of the bars is easily adjustable. The cassette tops can be closed to preserve moisture, effectively making each cassette into a miniature greenhouse when required. The vertical supports are specially treated to ward off slugs & snails.

The Cassette Planter in primarily designed for use in the UK, making even the smallest back yard into a micro allotment. The convenient height makes it accessible to the elderly, the disabled and children, when set to an appropriate height.

 
UrbanFarm Project.
This unique vertical growing system has been developed by one of our members and has been recognised nationally and internationally as an ultra-low cost method for producing vegetables and fruit. It requires no arable land and is particularly suitable when used in arid climates. We have carried out trials in Britain, Kenya and Bangladesh with very positive results and its development marks a new phase in Rotary's progressive ideas for the modern world.
Rochdale Rotary Club was given the 2010 National Rotary (RIBI) Rodney Huggins Environment award for innovative projects. Additionally UrbanFarm has been awarded the 2013 Colombo Plate Environmental Award.
For more information please visit our project website www.accessible-edibles.org

For a short video about UrbanFarm go to

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=rgvL9Rl1wOE




UrbanFarm ®development history
DECEMBER 2013
Our UrbanFarm ® website is now up and running at www.accessible-edibles.org . It contains all the information required to develop your own UrbanFarm ® by using the Application Manual shown under the INFORMATION button as well as the project videos.


NOVEMBER 2013
The project has been awarded 2013 Colombo Plate Environmental Award


SEPTEMBER 2013
 Over the summer period we have had an UrbanFarm ®project located very near to Rochdale town centre growing 17 different varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs to compare yields. Additionally together with the MIND and Hour Glass growth projects we have been supplying the Rochdale Food Bank with fresh produce that have been distributed to their clients along with a recipe, stock and tomato puree. We’ve also made a video (available on the UrbanFarm ®website) for the Rochdale Food bank clients showing how to buy low cost ingredients and make a very tasty and nutritious “Rotary Stew” for just seven pence per bowl.

see video on Urban Farm and Food Bank at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5jhHH2Pez0&list=UU5OoXfnJkSrUm87kMTHlvvQ


MARCH 2013
ROTARY CLUB OF ROCHDALE UrbanFarm ® A BRIEF PRE-SPRING REPORT
Development work continues both locally and at our projects in Kenya and Bangladesh. In February two of our members visited established and new schemes in Bangladesh and met organisations involved with poverty reduction who are interested in the technology to help needy landless citizens grow food in an urban environment.
Meanwhile as the old saying goes “charity begins at home” and on the strength of that we are distributing, free of charge, 800 trial mini grow bag kits that consist of a hanging bag with compost and two runner bean seeds.
We are working on the proposal that it’s all very well advising people how to grow their own vegetables using the advantages of grow bag technology. However the trouble is we are asking school teachers and other community groups to spend money they don’t have buying the necessary materials.
Using our free kit we can now say just hang the bag up, add water and push in the seeds then stand back and let your class or group watch Mother Nature at work. Hopefully the growth, consumption and sale of the beans should fire up young imaginations and lead to greater things particularly when the sale of the vegetables generates a self-funding and self-sustaining project.

Following our visit to Bangladesh we have been greatly encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by different users towards the UrbanFarm ® concept. This is based on:

1. The very low set up cost.
2. The fact that all production elements are easily and cheaply available within Bangladesh.
3. High levels of productivity for different vegetables and fruits making it very attractive particularly for poor landless people.
4. The ease of use in urban environments and the potential for high levels of production on the large number of solid flat roofs within the city.

We visited the International University of Business Agriculture and Technology where they have been running successful trials of the UrbanFarm ® concept. The Vice Chancellor has asked the University Agriculture Faculty to include a module in their Bachelor of Science program to cover the UrbanFarm ® approach.

Another trial at the Hospital for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP) has led to a couple of interesting developments. As they are in the middle of a sizeable building program at the moment, they have been able to use empty cement bags for their UrbanFarm ® program. Additionally CRP have a number of workshops where patients recovering from severe spinal injuries are taught skills that they can use in order to support themselves after being discharged from the hospital. Under David Acton’s tuition, one of their machine shops has manufactured a bag using a local material stitched together complete with a small plastic bag insert that is a discarded item from a sliced loaf packet. They propose to sell this bag complete with compost and seeds raising both awareness of the UrbanFarm ® concept in Bangladesh and funds for CRP.


2011  
Latest news on the project following a fact finding trip to Kenya


If every discarded plastic supermarket carrier bag was used as a hanging container for growing vegetables worldwide food shortage would be eradicated. So says Rochdale Rotarian David Acton and Middleton Rotarian John Brooker Rotary international members of a water/horticultural conservation evaluation team who experienced a ‘eureka’ moment on a recent trip to Kenya.
Acton explained that they had taken vertical vegetable growing bags to trial in the semi-arid areas of Kenya. Within 2 days of arrival they realised that the cost of the product they had taken was more than the poverty stricken African farmer could afford.
After much brain storming with members of the Kenyan Rotary team and the local rural community development agency staff, it was decided that what is the scourge of the world, used supermarket plastic bags was in fact the answer to universal hunger. That leap of imagination and the worldwide ramifications of using discarded plastic bags to grow food was worthy of an on the spot celebration. (see jpeg image 1195)

The main advantage is that the bags are free and available worldwide. There are supermarkets everywhere albeit of varying sizes, reports David Acton. The completed bag takes 5 seconds to make – place one bag inside another for strength, half fill with suitable growing medium, hang it up, punch 2 holes 1”/2cm up from the bottom of the bag, plant seeds or push in a seedling ‘plug’ add water and let nature take its course.

Other advantages over growing traditionally at ground level are: when the bag is hung up it creates a plastic ‘cone’ shape this allows condensation to trickle back down inside the bag into the soil so reducing water loss.

The moisture content can be carefully monitored visually and by a light squeeze of the bag, if it feels turgid (slightly soft) then the soil inside is in perfect condition.
The grower checks the bag in the early morning and evening to see if water is required as only the minimum amount of water is used (if water drips from the two holes – stop watering – the drips can be caught in a pan and returned to the top of the bag i.e. no waste water – no ‘run-off’
The bag can be hung in semi shade (under the eaves of a building or under the canopy of trees) where a cool environment exists whilst the plant can reach out and be supported in the warmth of bright sunlight. The soil/compost can be examined for ground borne bugs – weevils, slugs etc. before being hung up. Bags can be hung one above the other to maximise yield in a given space.
Where farm yard animal’s such as donkeys, goats, sheep and chickens cause problems by eating the young plants, the bags can be held above their reach. The bags can also be farmed by children or people with disabilities with the height fixed to suit the individual farmer. The advantages stacked up like points in a tennis match. By day three the re- vamped completely free bag was ready to be introduced to the rural community of Kenya.

Our team of six members including four Rotarians set out to make presentation in the outlying villages. The response is now history one hundred and forty two ‘trainers’ received making and growing instructions which, they will pass on to another group of trainers.
The ‘hanging’ concept was instantly seen as a way forward, the reaction from the trainers was wonderful, with searching questions asked and problems solved on the spot by local growers’ knowledge.
At the debriefing session at the end of the trip, it was decided that simple ideas are the best and most enduring. David Acton the team spokesman said ‘what idea could be simpler and more environmentally friendly?’ He would now like to involve interested growers, both amateur and professional in the UK particularly in ‘urban farm’ situations, to try the growing method and feedback their comments. Suitable vegetables are tomatoes, peas, beans, courgettes, peppers, cucumbers and strawberries.

The ‘above ground’ concept lends itself to the ‘grow your own’ trend and the austere situation we find ourselves in, it may also prove of value in the emerging “Big Society”


2009
The UrbanFarm ® project started in 2009 when the Club worked with Rochdale Council's Environment Department to grow crops vertically in bags, suspended above the ground. This uses a system that has been designed by the Club, and is the only project of its kind in the UK. A Declaration to this effect was signed by the District Governor and the Council on Saturday 18th July 2009

Work started on the first UrbanFarm ® in the country. Following this development work, starter packs were produced and distributed free to schools, the elderly and the disabled, as well as for use at allotment trials. Subsequently its use as an ultra-low cost growing system for developing countries was investigated with particular emphasis for countries where water and food are in short supply. UrbanFarm ® uses only tiny amounts of water so is highly beneficial in arid climates.

A club spokesman has said: "The advantage of growing vertically is obvious, where urban land is at a premium it makes sense to grow plants in rows on top of one-another, something similar to high rise apartments in city centres."

As an example, a small vegetable patch measuring 75 x 150cm can support 18 runner bean plants. If a 230cm high 'scaffold' is erected over the same patch, the Rotary Club believes that the use of their invention will help generate five times as many crops without the need for arable land.
UrbanFarm ® can be set up on any hard standing area.
 
Past President David Acton.

Archive of other articles about Grow bags project

News from Bangladesh Trip, March 2013.

We visited Brother Ronald Drahozal CSC at the Apongaon addiction rehabilitation project. They support a large number of street children and adults in their residential service. Brother Ronald gathered together a group of youngsters who had some interest in growing food and David gave a workshop presentation of the growbag system. There was a very enthusiastic question and answer session from the young people about the finer details of growing food in this way and they are going to set up their own Urban Farm at the project. Additionally it was Brother Ronald’s suggestion to utilise the plastic loaf packing bag in the development that was introduced later in the week at CRP.
It was the first time we had been in full contact with the Urban Partnership for Poverty Reduction and we explained our system to them and discussed the potential for its use. They were able to show us a photograph of a similar idea but they had used plastic bottles rather than bags. We explained all aspects of growbag and they are interested in trying out the system.
Due to a national holiday in Bangladesh and staff availability unfortunately we were unable to visit DFID.
Looking to the future IUBAT have agreed to coordinate information and activities relating to growbag and all the projects that we visited have been given contact details at the University.
In conclusion it was felt that the growbag system has enormous potential in Bangladesh not only for the reasons mentioned earlier but the climate provides a huge opportunity for a 365 days a year growing season. With simple daily attention for a very short period of time, the bags can be protected from too much or too little watering and the resulting crop positioned and supported. Even during the monsoon season the bags can be closed with a simple clip or wire fixing that will protect the crop from saturation. We firmly believe that with very little effort growbags will positively change lives.

 

 

ROTARY CLUB OF ROCHDALE “GROW BAGS” A BRIEF PRE-SPRING REPORT, March 2013.
Development work continues both locally and at our projects in Kenya and Bangladesh. In February two of our members visited established and new schemes in Bangladesh and met organisations involved with poverty reduction who are interested in the technology to help needy landless citizens grow food in an urban environment.
Meanwhile as the old saying goes “charity begins at home” and on the strength of that we are distributing, free of charge, 800 trial mini grow bag kits that consist of a hanging bag with compost and two runner bean seeds.
We are working on the proposal that it’s all very well advising people how to grow their own vegetables using the advantages of grow bag technology. However the trouble is we are asking school teachers and other community groups to spend money they don’t have buying the necessary materials.
Using our free kit we can now say just hang the bag up, add water and push in the seeds then stand back and let your class or group watch Mother Nature at work. Hopefully the growth, consumption and sale of the beans should fire up young imaginations and lead to greater things particularly when the sale of the vegetables generates a self-funding and self-sustaining project.
Three bags are available (free of charge) to all clubs from mid-April. If you need the bags before that date please advise either David Acton or Mike Tomkinson by email.
Additionally we have Grow Bag / Urban Farm leaflets that describe and illustrate how to establish and maintain a growth cycle and we will be happy to post them to your club if you just let us know. Please contact:

acton.sheila@btinternet.com

or

michaeltomkinson@btinternet.com


Additionally we now have a site in Rochdale where we hope to carry out a trial to see just how intensively we can push the grow bag system to discover what is the maximum output we can produce from a very small area of cultivation.
Following our visit to Bangladesh we have been greatly encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by different users towards the grow bag concept. This is based on:

1. The very low set up cost.
2. The fact that all production elements are easily and cheaply available within Bangladesh.
3. High levels of productivity for different vegetables and fruits making it very attractive particularly for poor landless people.
4. The ease of use in urban environments and the potential for high levels of production on the large number of solid flat roofs within the city.
We visited the International University of Business Agriculture and Technology where they have been running successful trials of the grow bag concept. The Vice Chancellor has asked the University Agriculture Faculty to include a module in their Bachelor of Science program to cover the grow bag within an Urban Farm approach.
Another trial at the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP) has led to a couple of interesting developments. As they are in the middle of a sizeable building program at the moment, they have been able to use empty cement bags for their grow bag program. Additionally CRP have a number of workshops where patients recovering from severe spinal injuries are taught skills that they can use in order to support themselves after being discharged from the hospital. Under David’s tuition, one of their machine shops has manufactured a grow bag using a local material stitched together complete with a small plastic bag insert that is a discarded item from a sliced loaf packet. They propose to sell this bag complete with compost and seeds raising both awareness of the grow bag concept in Bangladesh and funds for CRP.

Winner of Rodney Huggins RIBI Environmental Project 2010

Rochdale Rotary Club are working with the Council's Environment Department to grow crops vertically, suspended above the ground. They claim the feat, which uses Growbags especially designed by the Rotary Club, is the only project of its kind in the UK. A Declaration to this effect was signed by the District Governor and the Council on Saturday 18th July 2009

Work has now started on the first 'Vertical Farm' in the country and hope to send out their unique Growbags free to schools, the elderly and the disabled, as well for use at allotment trials. Ultimately they hope that their project will pave the way for schemes in countries where water and food are in short supply.

The Rotary Club developed the growbag over a 12 month period. Its design maximises the conservation of water.

A spokesperson for the club said: "With the expert knowledge and help of the council's horticulturists based at Bowlee Nurseries, we intend to be the first people to trial a Vertical Urban Farm. It will be called 'The Babylon Project' - after the Hanging Gardens!

"The advantage of growing vertically is obvious, where urban land is at a premium it makes sense to grow plants on top if one-another, something similar to high rise apartments in city centres."

As an example, a small vegetable patch measuring 75 x 150cm can support 18 runner bean plants. If a 230cm high 'scaffold' is erected over the same patch, the rotary club believes that the use of their invention will help generate five times as many crops.

"The initial simple prototype was developed after much brain storming, made from tubular polythene and the use of a basic heat sealer to keep cost to the minimum," the spokesperson continued.

"Although inexpensive we believe that in the hands of amateur or professional growers it offers a wealth of possibilities to the inventive mind."

You can now buy your grow bags online at www.urbanfarmplanters.co.uk

Donations (with or without gift aid) can be sent to www.justgiving.com/grow-bags

Copy report which appeared on Rochdale Online

www.rochdaleonline.co.uk/news-features/2/community-news/19498/rotary-club-claims-vertical-veg-is-a-uk-first

Latest news on the project following a fact finding trip to Kenya 2011

If every discarded plastic supermarket carrier bag was used as a hanging container for growing vegetables worldwide food shortage would be eradicated. So say Rochdale Rotarian David Acton and Middleton Rotarian John Brooker rotary international members of a water/horticultural conservation evaluation team who experienced a ‘eureka’ moment on a recent trip to Kenya.
Acton explained that they had taken vertical vegetable growing bags to trial in the semi arid areas of Kenya, within 2 days of arrival they realised that the cost of the product they had taken was more than the poverty stricken African market could afford.
After much brain storming with members of the Kenyan Rotary team and the local rural community development agency staff, it was decided that what is the scourge of the world, used supermarket plastic bags was in fact the answer to universal hunger, that leap of imagination and the worldwide ramifications of using discarded plastic bags to grow food was worthy of an on the spot celebration. (see jpeg image 1195)
The main advantage is that the bags are free and available worldwide. There are supermarkets everywhere albeit of varying sizes, reports David Acton. The completed grow bag takes 5 seconds to make – place one bag inside another for strength, half fill with suitable growing medium, hang it up, punch 2 holes 1”/2cm up from the bottom of the bag, plant seeds or push in a seedling ‘plug’ add water and let nature take its course.
Other advantages over growing traditionally at ground level are: when the bag is hung up it creates a plastic ‘cone’ shape this allows condensation to trickle back down inside the bag into the soil so reducing water loss.
The moisture content can be carefully monitored visually and by a light squeeze of the bag, if it feels turgid (slightly soft) then the soil inside is in perfect condition.
The grower treats the bag like a baby, checking early morning and evening to see if water is required as only the minimum amount of water is used (if water drips from the two holes – stop watering – the drips can be caught in a pan and returned to the top of the bag i.e. no waste water – no ‘run-off’
The bag can be hung in semi shade (under the eaves of a building or under the canopy of trees) where a cool environment exists whilst the plant can reach out and be supported in the warmth of bright sunlight. The soil/compost can be examined for ground borne bugs – weevils, slugs etc before being hung up. Bags can be hung one above the other to maximise yield in a given space.
Where farm yard animal’s donkeys, goats, sheep and chickens cause problems by eating the young plants – the bags can be held above their reach. The advantages stacked up like points in a tennis match. By day three the re- vamped completely free grow bag was ready to be introduced to the Kenyon rural community.
Our team of six members including four Rotarians set of to make presentation in the outlying villages. The response is now history one hundred and forty two ‘trainers’ received making and growing instructions which, they will pass on to another group of trainers.
The ‘hanging’ concept was instantly seen as a way forward, the reaction from the trainers was wonderful, with searching questions asked and problems solved on the spot by local growers’ knowledge.
At the debriefing session at the end of the trip, it was decided that simple ideas are the best and most enduring. David Acton the team spokesman said ‘what idea could be simpler and more environmentally friendly’ He would now like to involve interested growers, both amateur and professional in the UK particularly in ‘urban farm’ situations, to try the growing method and ‘feed back’ their comments. Suitable vegetables are tomatoes, peas, beans, courgettes, peppers, cucumbers and strawberries. (see jpeg image 1212)
The ‘above ground’ concept lends itself to the ‘grow your own’ trend and the austere situation we find ourselves in, it may also prove of value in the emerging “Big Society”

Past President David Acton.

 

Befriending Scheme

Winner of District 1280 The Keith Hoskinson Care in the Community Trophy 2010

The trophy is aimed at a unique Rotary club / individual project that has in some way impacted on the local community in care in a dynamic way.

Rotarian Mike Tomkinson is a Community Mental Health Worker with the national charity "Together" which is the oldest mental health charity in the country.
Mike is also the Convenor of the Community Service Committee of the Rotary Club of Rochdale and has identified an area of service where we can make a real difference to the lives of a few members of the community
Mike and his colleagues at “Together” are training and vetting some of the members of our Rotary Club and other volunteers so that they are qualified to befriend people with mental health problems who otherwise feel isolated and lonely.

Qualified Participants will commit themselves to befriend a client for about an hour once every two weeks. Not an onerous commitment but valuable support to help the recovery of someone who is struggling to make meaningful contact with friends in the community and who needs to increase their feelings of confidence, self-esteem and well-being. 

It is hoped that it can be widened to recruit participants in Rochdale from outside Rotary and that it can be duplicated by other Rotary Clubs across the North West and beyond

Donations to this scheme can be made on www.justgiving.co.uk/friends-together

Please read the updates below to see how the scheme is growing

PROJECT UPDATE -SEPTEMBER 2009

The Befriending scheme is now approaching its first anniversary and has been making good measurable progress in supporting its clients. We have given three Befriender training schemes to eleven Volunteers and feedback from befriended clients has been very encouraging.

Now that Befrienders from the Rotary Club of Rochdale have helped set the scheme up, we at Together are working hard to recruit more Volunteers from the community as there is a considerable demand for this service.

After a great deal of work we have submitted an application for Approved Provider Status to the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation and they are in the process of auditing our work. Achieving this standard will positively validate our procedures and methods of working, giving confidence to all those involved.

On the last weekend in September Rotarians and members of Together staff will be displaying information about the befriending project in the exhibition area at the Rotary Conference in Llandudno. We wish to inform other Rotary clubs about the value of this work in the hope that they will consider setting up a similar project in their own areas in partnership with a local mental health charity. Staff from Together will be able to advise on all aspects of the scheme as well as how to make contact with local partners.

October 2009
We are delighted to announce that the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation has awarded the Approved Provider Standard to the FriendsTogether Befriending project. This National Award recognises the overall quality standard that the project has achieved and particularly the work of the Befrienders. As well as checking the project policies and procedures, the auditors paid particular attention to the feedback from clients about their experiences of befriending.

Together set up a Project stall in Rochdale Centre on Mental Health Day and received applications from 14 members of the public who expressed an interest in befriending. We will present the first training course for these applicants on Saturday 7th November. This represents substantial progress in the development of the project and will help to provide Befrienders for the large number of clients who are anxious to take advantage of this service

May 2012 update.

The Friends Together befriending scheme has been running successfully now for almost four years.
The project is registered on the Rochdale CVS website and recently this has resulted in 9 enquiries from people who are interested in volunteering with the befriending service. Additionally a Rotary Befriender has been involved with the training of new community volunteers to help give them first-hand knowledge of what is involved in working with clients.
Feedback from clients continues to be positive and shows how much they value the relationship they have with their Befrienders.
The project is due to be audited again by The Mentoring and Befriending Foundation in September and a successful outcome will ensure that the Befriending scheme will retain its validation approval by the Foundation.
A presentation was made to the Rotary District Assembly at Salford University on May 12th to inform other Rotary clubs about befriending in the hope that we can support them to start their own schemes locally.



For anyone who is interested in further information please contact staff at the Together office:

Julie Radcliffe or Mike Tomkinson. Together working for wellbeing. 219 Bury Road Rochdale OL11 4EE. Tel: 01706 750740. email pm-rochdalecss@together-uk.org

 

 

 

Contact Information

Rotary Club of Rochdale

Masonic Buildings
Richard Street
Rochdale
OL11 1DU

Tel: 01706 767409

Fax: 01706 354681

Where we are

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