The countryside is generally regarded as the best place to live sustainably, where you grow your own produce and live off – as John Steinbeck coined – "the fatta the land".
In the city, however, Edible Eastside and Cookery School are changing former ideas. Edible Eastside is an urban space in Digbeth, which has been transformed into an inner-city garden for the public to use and enjoy. It's not very often that lush patches of green are seen in the city, never mind a flourishing garden, which is what makes this project all the more wonderful.
I could gush about the excitement and opportunities with Edible Eastside and Kitchen School, but they say it best themselves:
"Our aim is to integrate food systems into our thinking about urban environments and explore a new aesthetic for productive landscapes. We also love cooking and make sure people know what to do with their food once they have grown it.
We supply as much of Kitchen School's vegetables (our sister project) so people can have fresh produce and know where it came from. (opening in December 2013). We offer spaces to restaurants to grow their own for their summer menus." - Edible Eastside
It's not just restaurants and keen gardeners however, college students have been given the opportunity to grow their own vegetables in the city, cultivate their patches, and tend to their gardens. In return for harvesting their veggies and fruit the students then turn their 'live' ingredients into meals in the cookery school. Hence Edible Eastside's 'farm to fork' tag line.
You can try the fruits of your labour at Kitchen School, but Edible Eastside also run events and gardening courses for those green-finger novices. Whatever you take away from the courses and events you can practice in your own garden and develop your pruning skills.
Gardening and fun aside, the organic principles behind Edible Eastside and Kitchen School makes them good guys in my book. Providing true life skills and experiences that involve nurturing and the chance to understand food - they are independents, carving a niche for themselves and like-minded Brummies. I'm following them, it's up to you if you'll do the same.