I am a member of a Project Advisory Group for the Uplands Allotments here in Birmingham. Uplands is one of the largest allotments in the country with 422 plots and it opened in 1949. Located in Handsworth it has a long history adjacent to the Sandwell Valley Country Park and has a diversity of allotment holders and also a wide expertise in exotic vegetable and plant growing.
The Uplands Allotments Cooperative Association would like to use their space as a catalyst for the development of a low carbon, sustainable community in the north of the city.
They are seeking funds for the renovation at Uplands, supporting Birmingham City University architecture students to convert their ‘Shack’ community space into a Community Kitchen and an outdoor environmental learning zone for local schools and community groups.
They want to educate and encourage better understanding of the process of food manufacture, production and sustainable resource management.
The centrepiece of the zone will be a handmade clay pizza oven and BBQ space made from locally sourced materials. This is not just any pizza oven, but a fully sustainable, self-contained, hydroelectric energy system!
Waste heat from the oven is captured, heating water and pumping it to a high level tank. A gravity fed hydro generator then produces electricity on demand, not just when the oven is running! You can see a diagrammatic below