Fashioning Futures team launch growth garden initiative
‘The Growth Garden’ is a new initiative within the School of Fashion and Textiles, as part of a move towards more nature-based solutions. The project aims to create more meaningful connections between people, design and ecology, where natural dyes offer low impact plant-based colour palettes.
The initiative launched as staff and students from the School of Fashion and Textiles were invited to a seed planting workshop in March, with a focus on growing plants for natural dyes. This responds to growing concerns around the toxic environmental impacts of the fashion and textile industry, with 17-20 per cent of industrial pollution coming from textile dyeing and finishing.
The workshop was run by staff members Caroline Raybould, Sheila Bennett and Kathryn Burns, inviting students from across the Institute of Jewellery, Fashion and Textiles. Sustainability was a key focus with the re-use of old seed trays and pots, and peat-free compost donated from Kings Heath's Homebase store.
As part of the Fashioning Futures team's plans for a 'growth garden' at the University's Parkside Building, Karen Nutton, sustainability champion for the School of Fashion and Textiles, was able to use personal networks to secure a soil donation from the HS2 Curzon Gateway development site. HS2 are happy to supply more soil if it is required, which reduces the carbon footprint for the excavated soil.
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Two tonnes of high-quality topsoil have filled four surplus planters donated by the BCU gardening team headed by Eamon Madden, to be used to plant out the seedlings for the dye and print workshops organised by the Fashioning Futures team.
Attendees had the opportunity to learn about different types of compost, how to plant seeds, different dye plants and the colours they provide, and to take away seedlings to grow at home, and there was some great feedback from the students.
Caroline Raybould said: “It was great to see such an interest in this workshop and the garden and we have consequently set up a sustainability student action group to run follow-on events in the coming months."