About Brighton Hops
Started in January 2017, Brighton Hops was a creative food growing project to plant and produce hops (humulus lupulus). Hops are used mainly in the flavouring and preserving of beer but also have a part to play historically in garland decroation and in calming home remedies. In and around Brighton (UK) the project took off at multiple sites with a flag-ship base in the Edwardian kitchen gardens at Preston Manor (part of Brighton & Hove Museums). The first major harvest succeeded in the late summer of 2018 when Holler Brewery made Preston Green Hops pale ale with a combination of Phoenix and Fuggles; alongside this local homebrewers made their own batches with our hops.
This project aims to promote rhizomatic creative ideas around activities such as local food production and direct connections between growing and utilising within a locality.
Brighton Hops was crowd funded to provide around 40 plant rhizomes and start up materials which were distributed among 11 different growing 'farm' sites in various landscapes. Some urban, suburban others unurban. Half of these sites failed under the strains of (my inexperience) what it takes to manage a difficult crop such as these, however the flagship site among others remain intact. Looking after hop plants is more than it may seem, since the vagaries of disease and pests require at the very least attention every three days in spring. Due to lapse commitments (completing an art Masters) in 2019 the Damson Hop-Aphid a.k.a Greenfly devistated the crops at Preston Manor which led to crestfallen feelings. In 2020 The 5 Fuggles and 5 Phoenix have been looked after better than ever with extra attention and access to the site during the CV-19 lockdown, a short video showing how much I enjoyed giving aphids the Neem oil treatment is here and so we go on. Donwy Mildew has become a new problem to deal with after spraying the aphids caused a spike in moisture! Updates on all of this can be followed (and looked back on) here at the Instagram page. Hopefully with all things managed well the flower cones will be healhty and yields enough to work with a brewery on a new beer for autumn 2020.
The pilot creative project in January 2017 comes with a set of walk reports with field recording audio accompaniment made whilst I delivered the hop plants to their new homes for setting in the soil.
Recent projects attributed to the project have included the design and building of a 'hop scarecrow', film & photo collaboration with Liz 'The Hat Lady' Wakefield, production of 'Portal with postcards' starring the head gardeners George and Claire and a vast photogram/rayograph triptych featuring items from the Preston Manor archive material and the full size silhouette of a hop rhizome root system.