Transition Heathrow

Third birthday for third runway squatters


With the arrival of March, Grow Heathrow will turn 3 years old – it’s time to celebrate!

Come along for a day of feasting, music, cake competitions, swap shops, arts and crafts, seed sewing, free yoga lesson and celebrations. Bring your friends, family and an entry for the cake competition on Saturday 2nd March, from 1.30 sharp.


Re-posted from the Transition Heathrow blog

Grow Heathrow's 1st birthday

Today is the 1 year anniversary of the birth of Grow Heathrow. Amazing video done by YouandIFilms at the celebration event on Sunday. The most well attended event so far at the site with way over 100 people in and out of the gates all day. Good luck to them for the future. If you haven't been down there yet it's about time you do.

Heathrow campaigners earn right to transform villages and ensure No 3rd runway

Transition Heathrow and Sipson residents celebrated on Saturday morning as new court papers seeking to evict community garden Grow Heathrow revealed that the project won't have to appear in court until November this year.

The good news came after a turbulent two weeks for the environmental movement after revelations came out about the workings of undercover police in campaigns groups.

The extra ten months gives the team at Grow Heathrow more time to turn the land into a flourishing market garden. The project has provided local residents with a space to start building more sustainable Heathrow communities after the 3rd runway was dropped in March 2010.

Leading up to a court case seeking to evict them a few months ago they received many statements of support from a wide range of people including MPs, airport workers, local police and many local residents. The petition to "Keep Grow Heathrow Alive" also received over 700 signatures. Since March 1st 2010 the Transition Heathrow activists and local residents have been working together to turn the site into a hub for all the community. The project has hosted various events from food growing workshops, direct action trainings and a banquet.

Before the activists arrived the derelict greenhouses were used by the owners to illegally dump cars and other waste. Grow Heathrow gardeners and local residents have since cleared the refuse with the help of the local council and carefully restored the glass in the greenhouses - turning the land back into a market garden and a meeting space for local people. Residents who had been fighting Heathrow's expansion welcomed the initiative, which is located on the the site of the now-cancelled 3rd runway. Activists initially occupied the land in solidarity with the villagers who BAA has been trying to force from their homes to make way for expansion.

Transition Heathrow member Jo Rake, 21, said:

"Due to the threat of eviction it has meant the past few months has been filled with working out how we could resist being evicted. The decision to delay our court case until November recognises the need of a transition phase for the Heathrow villages. BAA are still trying to buy up all the homes they can get for the 3rd runway so now that we have a secure site for the next 10 months, we can continue to work with the local residents to show BAA where to go".

Local resident Tracy Howard, 35, said:

"The local residents have been thrilled by the news that Grow Heathrow will remain in Sipson for a lot longer than first thought. The site has provided a space for us all to come together again to rebuild after the blight caused by the 3rd runway issue. Not only is the site used for events, workshops and skillshares - it has become a hang out for residents and activists who have become very close friends since they took the site. I am looking forward to growing more vegetables over the summer to provide locally sourced organic veg, rather than food shipped in from across the world to our shelves at big supermarkets"

Daughter of Tracy, Olivia Howard, 11, said:

"It's nice to hang out somewhere where the is no agenda and you just get to be yourself. A place where there is nice people and local people and you have the opportunity to make a difference".

Grow Heathrow defiant in face of eviction threat

The squatted community garden in Sipson, Heathrow has been served a court summons for eviction. Don't worry though: we've no intention of leaving.

On the 1st of March this year we reclaimed a neglected plot of land called the Berkeley Nurseries in Sipson on the planned site of the 3rd runway.

For the last six months we've worked with residents to rejuvanate the former-market garden: shifting 30 tonnes of rubbish, growing seasonal food, hosting permaculture workshops and a banquet attended by 80 people as well as supporting the successful No Third Runway campaign.

Grow Heathrow is part of a budding land movement in the UK connecting struggles to take back control of our food production. In building resilient communities to environmental and economic crises we want to defend real alternatives to the systems of false democracy and corporate greed.

We are in negotiations with the landowners for long-term community ownership, and so for the while we ask you to support us in the upcoming struggle by:

Please email if you have any skills, ideas or experience to contribute in resisting this threat.

Please forward to your networks and post on your blogs.

With love,

Transition Heathrow

Grow Heathrow ready for take off

Beginning our new project on the first day in March was always going to be tricky, but even Spring was on side. For Transition Heathrow's latest project we've gone back to the land, turning a neglected scrap in the heart of the third runway into a thriving market garden for the community.

After the successful site take on the Monday, in which about 20 people secured our new site, we spent an intense week in the sun clearing and cleaning up the mess left behind by previous tenants. The amount of rubbish was monumental, but by the weekend we felt ready to open the gates and welcomed in the community.

The support we've had from the local community, and particularly from those on whose doorsteps we've set up, has been staggering. We posted a wish list of stuff we needed and by the weekend had mostly fulfilled it. From food parcels to blankets, we've been supremely well looked after by our new neighbours.

Over the weekend an incredible mix of people came together and spent two days in the glorious sunshine restoring the greenhouses to their former glory. It's hard to describe just how positive the atmosphere was, especially when people were primarily clearing rubbish. We had kids painting tyres to grow potatoes in; mass raking to clear up the broken glass and bender building to establish a beautiful shelter for our front gate. By the end of the weekend we were all exhausted, but exhilarated, by the amount we'd managed to achieve in such a short space of time.

This project is definitely a good antidote for anyone feeling overwhelmed post-Copenhagen, or depressed after reading 1,000 comments on the Guardian dissing climate science. Making a tangible difference in a community that has been blighted for so many years by the overhanging threat of airport expansion is wonderfully empowering, and there's plenty for people to do to get their hands dirty.

As a good friend of ours said about the project, "people should stop talking about the resistance, and come here and live it instead."

For more information email or if you want to come and join us for a day's work call the site phone on 07890751568.

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.