Clissold Park in Hackney was the location of an initial pilot which over the ensuing years has been the template for a patchwork farm co-ordinated through the Growing Communities office. These patches now extend right across the borough and produce an incredible yield of salad crops on what otherwise would be derelict disused land.
Growing Communities started out in 1996 by setting up a veg box scheme to provide a practical, viable and sustainable alternative to the damaging, supermarket-led food system. The aim was to enhance awareness and understanding of the need for a sustainable and resilient food system to meet the challenges posed by climate change and resource depletion and to prove that such a system could work and thrive.
Not only was interest generated in local food, but that interest was at a level which enabled Growing Communities to set up actual food production sites within Hackney. The plot in Clissold Park in 1997 was the first. It occupies the old nursery area which in the past serviced the floral gardens of the park. It is now one of the two sites designated as market garden sites where people interested in becoming growers can start to learn the trade under a Growing Communities apprentice scheme. In summer, produce is for sale at the gate of the garden with park visitors able to just stop and buy direct from the ground as they walk the dog, push the pram, go to work or just amble by.
Click here to buy the book Unlikely Heroes – the keepsake photobook documenting the agrarian renaissance in England and Wales, and featuring Growing Communities.
[Double clicking on any of the images below will open up that image up in a slideshow format. You can then run the slide show using ‘left’ and ‘right’ buttons. Personally I prefer to go also to full screen having opened the slide show – F11 on my PC, don’t forget to get out of full screen is the same button , not ESC!]