Bristol’s Green Roots


Cyclebag (Sustrans) Rally led by George Ferguson (1977) (c) Sustrans

Bristol’s Green Roots was a Schumacher Institute project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It documented the history of Bristol’s modern environmental movement to ensure that the achievements, successes and lessons learned over the past four decades are recorded for future generations.

The project drew on the thoughts, perspectives and memories of more than a hundred diverse people who have worked to make the city, and the world, a more sustainable, people-friendly and equal place.

These interviews, and the gathering of valuable archive materials, created an exhibition, an archive stored with Bristol Museums and a publication. Tracing the beginnings of organisations such as Sustrans, Centre for Sustainable Energy and Bristol Friends of the Earth – as well as dozens of the extraordinarily sustainable businesses, community groups, initiatives and individuals –  Bristol’s Green Roots celebrates their achievements but also asks “where next?”

Bristol's Green Roots exhibition

Bristol’s Green Roots exhibition

Bristol's Green Roots publication

Bristol’s Green Roots publication








Windmill Hill City Farm 

Windmill Hill

Windmill Hill City Farm (1976) (c) Windmill Hill City Farm

In 1976, local residents in Bedminster found out that a piece of derelict land on Philip St was earmarked for a lorry park. The community appealed to the council to let them use the land for something to benefit local people and they were give one weekend to prove that the land would be put to good use. A two-day event was organised and 1500 people of all ages turned up to start to clear the land and support an initiative to create space for the local community to grow food and work together.

This weekend saw Windmill Hill City Farm – the first one outside of London – founded. The farm is still there today, provided a haven of green space in a concrete jungle.