Above: SHROOM Project, urban mushroom farm, Dr Vincent Walsh
Dr Vincent Walsh
Vincent is a scientist and practitioner, with an academic background stretching across design, agricultural technologies and ecological life support systems. Vincent will be joining Art Gene as Ecological Designer to the Allotment Soup project, to support the next phase of development on the Isle of Walney Community Growing Space.
His research focuses on resilient methodologies to create integrated alternative food production and urban distribution systems, with an interest in new techniques for interconnectivity and decentralised urbanism. Key to his methodology is a design driven transdisciplinary-whole system approach, focused on the emergence of new biological infrastructure, innovation and cultures, which potentially have the capability of becoming increasingly resilient through climatic, economic and social disturbance.
Vincent has worked on an array of community projects, with particular focus on vermiculture, mycoremediation, agroforestry, mushroom/fungi system and integrated aquaponics, hydroponics, aeroponics and circular economy food systems. Vincent sits on the editorial board for the New food Magazine and is an active contributor to the magazine on areas of food tech, ecological system design and food futures.
When I work with any landscape, the first thing I do is to do nothing – except observe. Observe natural patterns & flows; where does the water come from? Where is held on the site, how does it flow off the site? Where is the wind? How does the wind work across the site? How does the site work in relation to the sun? Soil formation? Edges? Diversity? Observing a landscape helps us understand where it naturally wants to go, grow, evolve, and in my opinion, our role is to support any landscape to its natural complexity, so it can work efficiently, providing key resources for humans and the 20 million species who share the biosphere with us.
But where do we start?
Above: Hugel Mound workshop with volunteers, at Allotment Soup, photo Anna Litchfield
Vincent will work with the community at Allotment Soup: the Isle of Walney Community Growing Space to introduce ecologically beneficial interventions to the site. Starting with a workshop creating a ‘Hugel Mound’ in 2020, to be followed by a series of six further workshops for 2021 introducing biological pathways, swales, vermiculture and forest gardening, these works will develop the site towards a circular economy of resources on site. The workshop series has been supported through a partnership with Oakmere Homes. Read about how Art Gene and Oakmere have united to re-wild HERE.
Above: a new 6 tier composting and vermiculture system will efficiently recycle biomass and kitchen waste into fertile growing medium, at Allotment Soup, photo Anna Litchfield
The SHROOM project (pictured top) was a temporary urban mushroom farm in Manchester, launched at Manchester Food & Drink Festival 2016. Built in a 40ft mobile shipping container, the farm grew organic shiitake and oyster mushrooms for select restaurants in the city. The circular system used waste wood chips and coffee grounds, sourced locally and commonly available, recycling the waste as a substrate to grow mushrooms sustainably.
Vincent trained as ecological landscape designer with Martin Crawford, Director at the Agroforestry Research Trust, Devon, completing both intermediate and advanced courses. Working at EkoSence, a permaculture project in Croatia, he designed and implemented a forest garden, integrated through different permaculture production zones, and a linked system for water integration connected to round house building. Most recently he has been commissioned to develop an agroforestry system for a local eco wedding company.