One of the most resounding success stories in the ‘alternative food production’ arena has to be OrganicLea. Based in the Lea Valley to the north east of London, it is a workers co-operative of a dozen or so growers and the like which produces a vast array of produce which is subsequently distributed locally via weekly box schemes. To read more click on the post title or image.
Activity across the Growing Communities Patchwork Farm builds to a climax each week on a Tuesday evening. It’s then that all the salad produce from across the farm patches reaches the ‘mixing and packing station’ of the Old Fire Station Yard on Leswin Road in Hackney. In a flurry of excitement, salad leaves and banter the incoming produce is magically transformed into the award-winning Hackney Salad, ready for distribution through 1000 or so veg boxes and a range of local shops and restaurants. To read more click on the post title or image.
The Prime Minister of the UK claims ‘a country working for everyone’. The enforced closure of Kynaston Gardens – a small patch of community green space rich and verdant with organic fruit and veg – suggests we are a long way from it. ‘A country working for everyone’, my arse! To read more click on the post title or image.
So what’s the connection between Growing Communities and an indoor climbing centre – particularly one set up in the somewhat surreal location of a castle high on a mound in the middle of Hackney? Well, obvious really isn’t it – they both want to produce local organic fruit and veg! To read more click on the post title or image.
Located in the public amenity of Springfield Park, the Springfield Gardens patch of Growing Communities is in Clapton, London E5. It’s another of the incredibly productive ‘patches’ co-ordinated through Growing Communities and maintained by a small dedicated group of professional growers, apprentices and volunteers. To read more click on the post title or image.
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. To read more click on the post title or image.
Five years ago, Growing Communities, a not-for-profit organisation based in Hackney, took over a site of concrete and glass which had been producing bedding plants for Dagenham parks and gardens. The site now produces about 5 tonnes of veg a year. To read more click on the post title or image.
To complete a triangulation of London, I visited Enfield in the North and the home of an ambitious plan, Garden Enfield, set out by Enfield Borough Council and aiming to establish a sizeable, vibrant and sustainable market gardening industry in Enfield and neighbouring Lee Valley………………..click on the post title or image to find out more.
Sitting as it does on a 7.1 acre smallholding to the south of London just outside Crawley, with views towards the skyline of central London and the monstrous homes of the UK financial sector in Canary Wharf, Sutton Community Farm is a community-owned farm formed with the simple purpose increasing local access to fresh, healthy, sustainable food ……………….click on the post title or image to find out more.
Less than five years ago Dagenham Farm was a site of concrete and glass, designed to produce municipal plants for the borough. Today it is a highly productive centre of salad and vegetable growing using sustainable and soil enriching practices throughout. The site is leased by Growing Communities ……………….click on the post title or image to find out more.