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Photo:Bee on hollyhock, Horsdean

Bee on hollyhock, Horsdean

Photo by Simon Tobitt

Brighton & Hove Organic Gardening Group

By Simon Tobitt

Ruth Urbanowicz handles membership for BHOGG and is happy to receive any enquiries about the group: 01273 681120.

Ruth explains about the Group's allotment plot
"Our local organic gardening group - we have one hundred and fifty members, and a lot of us have got our own plots already - but we thought it would be nice to take on a couple of plots so that we can have a place to meet, but also if there are people who can't cope with a whole allotment themselves, but want to get their hands in the soil and do some stuff, there's a place and an opportunity for them to come along and take part in a community project. We are hoping to also make it disabled accessible; we do have one disabled person in the membership. We want to make it as open and inclusive as possible. And we want to try and set some organic standards here, so they can come and say: "Hey that's look good, and it's organic and I thought organic was messy and hippyish", and actually it doesn't need to be at all."

Ruth talks more about what BHOGG members get up to
"Our Brighton & Hove Organic Gardening Group has been going about four and a half years. Fundamentally for me, it's fun. It's also very useful, it's a very good opportunity for us to get together and share ideas, go and see how other people do their gardening, whether it's home gardens or allotment gardens. [It's] a place where we can have lively discussion about organic issues, and other issues as well. In the summer, we do a lot of visits. So this week we visited a couple of people within the group. We're starting up our winter programme in September, and we have a monthly meeting which is relatively structured, so for instance the September one we'll be doing soil testing; then the other half is going to be Gardener's Question Time. We've had a couple of quite famous speakers down in the Brighton Festival in previous years, we've had Bob Flowerdew, and we've had Gaye Search. We've had visits to places like Yalding Organic Gardens, that's part of the HDRA - Henry Doubleday Research Association - which is the amateur organic gardeners' main group that sets the organic standard for ordinary gardening. We went to Brogdale, the national apple and pear place. We hire slide shows from the HDRA; we had a really good one on pests and diseases. We have an evening pub night, where we can all just go and let our hair down, just chat about whatever. It's a really lively group, it's really good fun."

Ruth on 'Why Organic?'
"Apparently, one hundred and fifty pesticides still in common use have been identified as carcinogens: fifty per cent of lettuces have more than seven chemicals on them, spuds have fifty two per cent. It's just not something that is on the label. It's commonly used in modern agricultural methods and has been since the war. We don't know what we're putting into our bodies as a result of all of these pesticides. The long term effects of regular exposure to pesticides often cause chronic illness, including cancer, reproductive and neurological effects. I guess this is the bottom line of why such a lot of us are now are finding it really important to be organic in the way that we eat."

Added to the site on 21-12-05
This page was added on 22/03/2006.

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