Film screenings & networking

We held our third film screening of the year last week. It was In Our Hands, a hugely insipirational film about how we can take back control of our food system. Afterwards we talked about all the things that are happening in Lambeth and how if we work together we are much greater than the sum of our parts.

If you missed the earlier films we are planning to screen Demain and SEED again with the RCA in Battersea in May as part of the Chelsea Fringe. We will send emails to members to invite you but please keep an eye on our website, or if you haven’t joined you can do so here:

We are also pleased to be involved in a speaker event on May 21st, also part of Chelsea Fringe, bringing together Pam Warhurst, founding of the Incredible Edible movement, with two trustees of the new London National Park City programme. The event will be held at Battersea Power Station. If you have never heard Pam speak it’s highly recommended..and a great way to connect with what is going on in the rest of London and outside of London. More details here.

LEAP into Healthy Lifestyles

Incredible Edible Lambeth is working with Lambeth Early Action Partnership (LEAP) in four wards of Lambeth (Stockwell, Vassall, Coldharbour and Tulse Hill), to facilitate activities for families with children under 4 years old, who are often on low incomes, to access more activities around healthy eating and being active.

We are prototyping ways of working that the families and children can design their own projects, such as food-growing, cooking and eating and being outdoors appreciating nature and the environment. We are putting parents in control, and building on community assets, rather than making them recipients of services.

In Stockwell we worked with Oasis Nature Garden, Stockwell Partnership and residents from the Studley estate to look at how we can make better use of the outdoor space on the estate.  On a very cold day in early February we took the nature garden to the estate, with teepees, tents, nature crafts. Brixton People’s Kitchen also came along to cook a healthy meal. IWe showed that it is possible to get children outside playing in event the worst weather, and that parents benefit too.

In Vassal ward we are working with four cafes to run healthy eating and cooking activities. They are Van Gogh (vegan cafe), Home N Away (Myatts Fields North centre), the Platform (Loughborough Farm), and the Little Cat Cafe (Myatts Fields Park). They have been running events in February and March and looking for ways to ensure they meet the needs of families with young children eg having a space for push chairs, offering to do small mashed up meals or warm milk, and happy for people to sit with a cup of coffee for a few hours when the cafe isn’t busy.

In Coldharbour ward we facilitated a half term holiday meal programme at the Loughborough Community (Max Roach) One O’Clock Club and Adventure Playground. We trained seven parents to volunteer to cook in the centre, involving families and children in the preparation of the food. We an average of 70 people a day on three days during half term, for less than 50p a head by accessing surplus food through some of the networks that IEL has helped set up over the last few years.

Finally in Tulse Hill we are establishing a community garden at High Trees Adventure Playground, where a new space is being set up for very young children and their parents during the day. We are training  up some parents in basic gardening skills so that they can grow their own veg this year, with some on-going support from Myatts Fields Park community gardener, Fabrice, who will grow seedlings in the greenhouse there to give plants a head start, and from Vinnie who runs a polytunnel garden project on the Tulse Hill estate, very nearby.

Email ediblelambeth@gmail.com for more information about any of these events. If you live in the areas and have a child under 4 then hopefully you will take part and benefit. If you would like to volunteer or get involved with any of the projects please also let us know.

Working with Schools to promote food growing

 

Q&A  with Janie Bickersteth, Director of IEL

Why are you so passionate about working with schools?

I believe that all children should be exposed to the ‘dirt’.

Why does dirt matter?

Soil (or ‘dirt’) matters! Soil is what keeps us alive – without it, we would not exist. We depend upon it, but take it for granted. In a handful of soil, there are more microorganisms than there are people on this Planet; 1cm of soil takes 500 years to form; our Government recognises that we are 30-40 years away from eradicating our topsoil, through poor farming choices.

And when we know about soil – what next?

We need our children to recognise its importance. Here’s why:

  1. PLANETARY HEALTH – our planet is groaning..we expect too much of it.  Overtilling of soils, heavy pesticide use and absurd movement of food around the world increasing our CO2 emissions.
  2. PHYSICAL HEALTH – there’s an epidemic of obesity – 28% of children aged 2-15 are overweight or obese [Public Health England]). Locally produced food is far more nutritious, as it’s picked when it’s ripe (tomatoes picked green for transporting have 31% less Vitamin C). Children need to re-connect to real food, stepping away from convenience, processed food – their health depends upon it.
  3. MENTAL HEALTH – getting people onto the land improves our mental health – we breathe in the fresh air, we connect with the soil, we understand our planet better. Growing food makes you feel good!

What is your mission?

First – To encourage and support teachers to embed food growing into their schools. 50% of schools do have some kind of growing space, but support for it varies enormously; many teachers I meet feel overworked and woefully under-supported in this work. Like any organisation, senior management needs to embrace the importance and significance of this to make it meaningful throughout the school. I want to signpost schools to the many resources that are now available – from the Edible Playground project at Trees for Cities to the RHS school garden programme, to London Food Growing to more local opportunities in Lambeth, like the brilliant Urban Canopy guys.

Second – To lobby our Education Minister to recognise that all children need to be equipped to grow food. I believe it’s an essential life skill; it’s called ‘food security’. I’m gathering interested people!

What’s next?

Obviously, I’d like schools (and anyone living in Lambeth who is interested in local food) to join IEL! Go to www.incredibleediblelambeth.org/join. And then we can support with signposting. I’d like teachers and parents to join a movement to embed meaningful food-growing in the National Curriculum (email incrediblelambeth@gmail.com)

 

FREE seedlings from Myatt’s Field Park

 

We are delighted to announce that Myatt’s Fields Park Project will be giving away free vegetable seedlings to community growing projects in spring and summer 2018.

 Thanks to funding from London Community Foundation, Lambeth Early Action Partnership and support from Urban Growth and Incredible Edible Lambeth, Myatts Fields Park are able to grow seedlings in their greenhouse and offer them to food growers across Lambeth.

Who can apply?

This support is available to all not for profit or community food growing projects. These can include local residents groups, tenant associations, schools, nurseries, colleges, community gardens, community centres – the list is very long! You must be located in Lambeth.

What does the support include?

  • A planning day in March or April at the Myatt’s Fields Greenhouse when you will be supported to draw up a planting plan for your site and place orders (to include a community lunch with other gardeners)
  • Two sets of seedlings to be collected from Myatt’s over spring and summer and fillers if needed in between
  • Instructions and top tips about how best to plant and care for the seedlings
  • The opportunity to take part in a planting day in spring at Myatt’s – meeting other gardeners and a community lunch
  • Membership of Incredible Edible Lambeth network of growers

For five projects working with children four years and under in Vassall and Coldharbour wards we can also offer three free training sessions on your site with our Community Gardener. The sites will be selected on a first come first served basis


Planning sessions


This year we are also offering groups the opportunity to join our Community Gardeners at a planning day in Myatt’s Fields Park (SE5 9RA). The sessions will help you plan your space, complete your seedling order form, meet other growers and make sure you get the best from your seedlings this year. We will provide free lunch between 12.30 – 1.30 for attendees from both sessions.

Planning sessions will be held on the following days and times:

Saturday 3 March: 10am – 12.30pm

Saturday 3 March: 1.30pm – 4pm

Thursday 8 March: 10am – 12.30pm

Thursday 8 March: 1.30pm – 4pm

Saturday 17 March: 10am – 1pm (Groups working with under four’s only)

Thursday 5 April: 10am – 12.30pm

Thursday 5 April: 1.30pm – 4pm

Please go to:  https://www.myattsfieldspark.info/free-seedlings.html for full information about how to apply and to book onto a planning day

Edible Avenue SW8

We have been helping out just over the border in Wandsworth to establish food growing and ‘greening’ in a neighbourhood of three estates. Called Edible Avenue SW8 we run gardening and horticultural craft workshops at a community centre and we run a regular gardening volunteering session on a Friday morning. This has been very successful during the winter and we have planted trees and fruit bushes, helped clear gardens for some residents, planted bulbs, helped out in the sheltered housing garden and the one o’clock club. Anyone is welcome to join us on a Friday for two hours 10-12am. For regular updates please check our twitter account or join the email list by emailing edibleavenuesw8@gmail.com.

NEW Brixton Food Growing Map

We love maps, and have just printed a new map of food growing sites in Brixton illustrated by Saskia Selwood.

You can pick up a copy at Brixton Pound cafe, 77 Atlantic Road, Brixton, or at the sites mentioned on the map very soon.

SEED Swap/Share at the Garden Museum

Over 80 people attended our seed swap at the Garden Museum on 27 January 2018 – it was a big success.

There were four themed swapping/sharing tables which were primed with  slightly out-of-date seeds donated by Franchi Seeds and then added to by attendees.

We also had guest appearances from Esiah Levy who brought painted sweetcorn and a couple of varieties of pumpkin, and the Freedom Seed Bank who encourage people to save seed and reduce their dependence on bought seeds.

Pam Warhurst, founder of the Incredible Edible movement also popped her head in.

And of course we were in the fantastic Garden Museum so IEL members could use their free membership cards to look around at the exhibits. Thankyou to Janine, Learning Officer at the Garden Museum, we look forward to working together again soon.

Janine also facilitated our Blooming Lambeth photo exhibition, which has been on display since the beginning of December, but was taken down after the seed swap.

Thankyou also to Nikki and Jodie who volunteered to help on the day, having never volunteered at an IEL event before. It was great to spend time with you.

Incredible Edible Lambeth exhibition at the Garden Museum

On Saturday 9th December Incredible Edible Lambeth (IEL) launched its first ever exhibition at the Garden Museum. It is an exhibition of photographs of Blooming Lambeth award winners, taken by founding member Elaine Kramer, pictured here.

The exhibition looks fabulous. It is free to view if you enter the museum via the cafe and is on the community wall by the entrance to the shop. The photographs will be there until the end of January 2018.

The Garden Museum address is Lambeth Palace Rd, Lambeth, London SE1 7LB. Entry to the museum is free for IEL Group members. You can sign up to be a member via our website at www.incredibleediblelambeth.org/join

Learning about aquaponics

GreenLab is a technology hub supporting the design of new sustainable food systems.

It’s just on the border with Southwark, but we decided to make the most of this new facility and see if we could help increase green tech knowledge amongst our members. We funded five Incredible Edible Lambeth members to attend a workshop on aquaponics in November 2017.

We learnt about the benefits of ‘closed loop’ systems; in aquaponics, fish provide the fertilizer for growing greens such as salads, and in turn the plants clean the water for the fish.

We learnt how to build a complete system using mainly recycled materials, for around £100. The main costs are a water pump and some plumbing. The pump does require electricity.

 

Free training opportunities for community food groups

A popular request from our new members, when signing up, is for training.

We will curate some of our own training but in the meantime here are some training opportunities that are about at the moment.

The best resource for general community group training eg how to fundraise, is currently Community Action Southwark. They are currently being commissioned by Lambeth to offer extra courses for Lambeth residents. You can see their training programme here and sign up for regular updates.

We just spotted this training on social media from Lead Positive Change. Again this would be another organisation worth signing up to for regular updates.

Finally London Freedom Seed Bank is training up people to become experts in seed saving, so-called ‘seed buddies’ . This is a programme for individuals and requires a level of commitment. Find out more here.

If you haven’t signed up to become a member yet please follow this link.