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Community Veg garden in one of the most deprived urban areas in the UK

I have joined two local growing schemes (Capital Grow www.capitalgrowth.org and Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming www.sustainweb.org) and "food networks" such as Growing Communities East London (www.growingcommunities.org).

Capital Grow has already supported the student residence belonging to the university I attended to transform a patch of waste land into a thriving community garden, see : http://www.flickr.com/photos/capitalgrowth/4291253400/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/capitalgrowth/

My Aim:
I am hoping to convince my neighbours to join me in applying for a grant to transform some of the green space between our flats into a community veg garden (I will try to upload some pics soon - see my blog post tagged LEARN 2). The community center and the local kindergarten could get involved. On the other side of the estate is a beautiful "secret garden" where I hope to be able to get advice and possibly some further "man and woman power" to transform the unused green space into a flourishing, organic community garden.

St Mary's Secret Garden: (www.stmaryssecretgarden.org.uk)

St Mary's Secret Garden is a horticultural project in Hackney, London. This small secret garden is often

described as a peaceful oasis in the middle of a very busy area of the capital. It is approximately 0.7 of an acre in size and has been developed to create a diverse green space. There are four interlinking areas - a natural woodland, a food growing area (including vegetable beds, sort fruit and fruit trees), an herb and sensory garden and an area of herbaceous borders. We have a fully accessible classroom and a large greenhouse. Organic principles are used in maintaining the site and to encourage wildlife and biodiversity within the garden.

St Mary's Secret Garden provides a diversity of projects including accredited horticultural education, therapeutical sessions, volunteering, an annual flower show and work experience for students and school children. For over 15 years the garden has been used as a resource by the local community which includes; local residents, adults with mental health issues, terminal illness, physical and learning disabilities.

I would like to hold a regular "community food and grow" event, where we can learn more about successful veg growing and sustainability (hopefully from some exciting guest speakers), exchange recipes and share meals... I think this would be especially valuable for the children and youth who live in the area and have probably never seen a potato in it's "natural state" or tried a stuffed courgette flower...

I hope this will contribute to my neighbours eating more healthily and more sustainably and help them realise the joy of "real food". I also hope it will strengthen the sense of community between the hundreds of people from all different walks of life and different origins who live on our estate to and help them feel that together they can learn to eat better, enjoy the outdoors and appreciate nature, learn about sustainability and recycling, how they can save money by growing their own veg (and feel a lot more satisfied and pleased about eating home-grown veg) and have a good time together growing, cooking and eating food...

Views: 24

Comment by Omri or something on March 22, 2010 at 1:47pm
I love it. There is so much space in English gardens to grow food as well.

I used to live in London, wish I'd have done it myself
Comment by Nick Heyming on March 22, 2010 at 4:38pm
Great idea! I wish you luck in this, do you feel like you have plenty of resources to accomplish this?


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