Right to Grow bill

Lloyd Court

As an Incredible Edible Lambeth member, we are inviting you to help with a really important piece of campaign work. Later this month Mike Kane MP is planning to speak in the House of Commons about a Bill we are proposing, giving people a legally binding Right to Grow on local public land – that is, a community’s right to access and use often neglected publicly owned land for food growing and wildlife projects. 

But, Mike Kane needs to know he’s going to get support from other MPs, and that’s where we come in. As Incredible Edible growers we are the strongest force for influencing our own MPs and getting them to support Mike Kane’s Bill. 

As a fellow IEL member, you know how powerful growing food is for us, our communities, and our world. But, so many people cannot easily access land that they can grow on.  That needs to change! We can help make that happen by securing this Right to Grow. 

If you want more details before you decide you can take a look at the Right to Grow page on our website.

Will you contact your local MP and ask them to support Mike Kane’s Bill when he proposes it? We are including suggestions on what to say, so it should only take you 10 minutes or so. It would be such a huge help! You can copy and paste the details below or download the pdf attached and top and tail it yourself.

Can you let us know whether you have contacted your MP, so that we can report back to Mike Kane and let him know which MPs have been asked to support the Bill? email us coordinator@incredibleediblelambeth.org


Tips for writing to Florence Eshalomi, MP:

  • Introduce yourself, and briefly explain how you are involved with Incredible Edible Lambeth and why it matters to you.
  • Tell her that Mike Kane MP is going to be proposing, a 10-minute-rule Bill* for a Right to Grow on public land, which would greatly improve access to that land for community groups to grow food and make it more wildlife friendly, and ask whether she will be willing to support the Bill.
  • Tell her about your experience and why you think community growing projects are good for the local area, and emphasise that if access to land was easier, there could be more projects and more people benefiting from improving the local environment through community growing. 
  • Ask her to get back to you and let you know if they will support the bill.

That’s it but be sure to include your postal address or at least your postcode at the end of your letter, as she will only deal with correspondence that is from people who live in her constituency. 

Florence’s email is florence.eshalomi.mp@parliament.uk

Thank you 

*A 10 Minute Rule Bill is an opportunity for MPs to propose a new piece of legislation on an important issue by speaking about it for 10 minutes in the Parliament. Its purpose is to inform and raise the profile of the issue. It does not in itself change the law, but is a valuable step forward.

Extra activity for those enthusiastic to support

Request a visit from Florence to your growing site for a short meeting to talk about the Right to Grow.

When she visits, show her what you’ve been doing, tell her about the benefits, and give her a copy of our Right to Grow briefing (see link on Incredible Edible website)

Get a photo of you and Florence, and ask her if she will commit to supporting Mike Kane’s 10-minute-rule bill. If yes, ask her if she will provide a short statement of support in writing for a press release.

If she commits to support it, use the attached press release and the photo of you with your MP, to approach your local newspaper(s) with the story.



Lambeth food stories: whose space is it anyway?

Following on from the work we are doing on six housing estates in Lambeth (as part of the Mayor of London funded ‘Grow Back Greener‘ project), and work we are doing with Arup on mapping the borough (see Lambeth plots), we held this great zoom event, attended by almost 50 people. Watch it HERE

Here’s a list of the places represented by the attendees:

St Matthew’s Estate (Brixton)

Caldwell Estate

Hillside Gardens Park

Rosendale Estate

Central Hill Estate

Tabard Gardens

Walworth Community Garden (Southwark)


Lambeth Council

Cowley Estate

Open Orchard

Myatt’s Field South

St Martin’s Estate

Vauxhall Gardens Estate

Calais Gate and Coligny Court

Edmundsbury Estate

Oasis Waterloo

Goldsmith’s College

Food Ethics Council

Bernie Spain Community Garden

Seed Sovereignty/London Freedom Seed Bank

St Leonard’s Church and School, Streatham

Palace Road Estate


Friends of the Earth, Lambeth

Springfield Estate

Notes from the event:

You can find further information on our guest speaker Judy Ling Wong – here and her presentation will soon be able to be viewed separately to the full length zoom event (awaiting link).
Our Grow Back Greener Estates draft version of the Template of Engagement can be read here. Please send us comments about this template.

If you’ve identified some land you would like to grow food on (or create a garden to encourage biodiversity), why not get in touch today? questions @incredibleediblelambeth.org.

In the ‘Chat’ there was discussion about pesticide use on our streets – if you would like to opt out of the Council’s upcoming spraying regime, go here . If you live on an estate, you can ask for any neighbouring streets not to be sprayed. If you have not yet pledged to go pesticide-free, please go here today.

If you live or work in Lambeth and are not yet a member of IEL, please join our organisation today and strengthen our voice for more food growing in the borough.


Blooming Lambeth Awards 2021 launched

It’s that time of year again! We are excited to announce the launch of the Blooming Lambeth Awards 2021 – a chance for every grower in the borough to win a cash prize and be recognised for their contribution to making Lambeth a better place to live.

The categories: we have eight categories this year, See below for a full description of each.

Judging and prizes: there will be cash prizes of £150 and £75 for winners and highly commended. Four of the categories will be people’s vote, whilst four categories will be voted by Lambeth food growers. Make sure you read the guidelines before applying. You can nominate yourself or someone you know or a garden you admire.

Each entry should be accompanied by ALL of the following information: 

  • your name and email address
  • the person or contact at the garden you’re nominating (if it’s not yourself), their email address
  • the address/location of the garden, school or where the person volunteers
  • a description of your nomination: min 50/max 200 words – make this as clear as you can – this is what we and the public will read and will help in judging.
  • your nomination’s social media accounts (if you/they have any): Twitter / Instagram / Flickr / FB page
  • photos: (min 3 / max 8) maximum size 2MB – make sure these photos are clear and really showcase the category you’re nominating. These are the photographs we will use to shortlist nominations and will determine which nominations are visited. For the People’s Vote – these are the photos the public will see to cast their vote.

Nitty gritty

  • you (or your nomination) must live or work in Lambeth 
  • you can nominate once in as many categories as you like
  • if you are shortlisted yours, or your nominee’s bank account details will be required. We make bank transfers not cash payments. Only nominees will get paid, not nominators.
  • by entering these awards, you agree to IEL using your images on our social media accounts and website. You agree to waive your copyright. (we will not sell your images for commercial purposes) If you are sending a photo with an image with a minor in it, you must either be their parent or custodian, and/or have their consent, for IEL to use it. Safeguarding is your responsibility here – do not submit any images of minors you do not want publicised.
  • and finally, it’s a given – in line with our ongoing campaign – no harmful pesticide or herbicide will have been used to aid growth of your plants. We also would love to hear that you have opted for peat free compost.

Why bother entering? There will be at least two prizes per category, with cash winnings of £75-£150 each and, as a winner, your garden will receive lots of publicity and a small framed certificate. Everyone is welcome to attend an events ceremony in October (we are not yet certain whether this will be in real life or online or both!).

The deadlines: the deadline for entering the awards is 30th June.

All IEL voting and visiting of the selected nominations will take place 5th-18th July, when photos will be taken.

Public voting starts July 14th. Cast your vote today!

The award ceremony will take place online on 18 November (7pm to 8pm).

Here are the categories for this year:

1. Most imaginative growing space in public view (a planter, a balcony, a hanging basket, an unusual container) – This category will be judged by a panel of Lambeth food growers

Nominations are now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination.

2.  Ivor Picardo Award for abundant growing of edibles, this could be in a public or private space. This category will be judged by a panel of Lambeth food growers

Nominations are now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination.

3. Best school garden – Is your school growing food? Does it have a programme to involve all children in outdoor learning? Has your school developed a wildflower area? Has it planted trees and shrubs to help create barriers against pollution? We want to hear about it! This category will be judged by a panel of Lambeth food growers

Nominations are now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination.

4. Most enthusiastic young gardener (under 18) – This could be a young person getting involved at home or in their neighbourhood or at their school. People’s vote

Nominations are now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination.

5. Best volunteer for a community growing space – Young or old, we know that there are so many people giving their time to make community gardens run smoothly and effectively. Now’s your chance to show how you value them and to say ‘Thank you’ to them. People’s vote

Nominations are now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination.

6. Best resident-led community garden – This category will be judged by a panel of Lambeth food growers

Nominations are now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination.

7. Best garden in bloom (public or private space but must have a public facing view – eg front garden, therapeutic garden, parklet) – People’s vote

Nominations are now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination.

8. Best space for encouraging biodiversity – for example: do the pollinators love your patch? or are you growing flowers that attract them? or do you have places for hedgehogs, beetles? or do you have a pond? People’s vote 

Nominations are now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination.

Lambeth plots…mapping Lambeth’s food growing potential – it’s ready!

Our interactive map and app is now LIVE! Please test drive it over the coming week, then join us for a workshop next week to give us your feedback.

This piece of work is being undertaken in partnership with Arup – but we can’t do it without YOU…. Please read more about the project.


The trial of mapping existing and potential growing spaces through Arup’s interactive map has ended. Thank you to everyone for their contributions! Arup is now pulling together a report on the spaces found and we will make it available once it is ready.

But mapping our food growing potential is not over yet – and we still need your help! Find out how you can help here.

Grow Back Greener Estates launches its template of engagement

You may remember reading that IEL received funding from the Mayor of London to work across six estates to design and implement a ‘template of engagement’ for residents to support more food growing and biodiversity.

For the past couple of months, we have been working together with residents across six estates and have designed this template. It is still in draft form – we would welcome your feedback on this document, which we think is an exciting new and transformative way of considering land on our estates – it enables residents to engage more fully with their space, and hopefully will help to create lovely spaces that everyone wants to spend time in.



Make your community compost bin today!

Spurgeon Estate Secret Garden with their community compost bins

We’ve been encouraging people to create MakeSoil sites in their community for a couple of years now…Currently, there are eight sites in Lambeth – please consider becoming a makesoil site TODAY! Go to MakeSoil.org to find out how.

If we can show the Council that this scheme saves them (and ultimately us) money, then they might invest in community composting all over the borough. This is win win – better for the environment, better for our gardens!

If you would like to be sent a bin design, courtesy of Tim’s Bins at the Community Composting scheme in Brighton (a scheme funded by Brighton Council), please get in touch questions@incredibleediblelambeth.org

Blooming Lambeth Awards 2021 and a chance to remember the 2020 winners..

It’s that time of year when we can almost get out and start growing…we would love you to start thinking about entering the Blooming Lambeth Awards 2021. Watch this space for more information!

Our virtual celebration last October was a great chance to celebrate all the growing around the borough – please do watch the video and remind yourselves of all the fabulous the winners. Our favourite quote of the night was “The ground’s the limit”.

This could be you in 2021!

We gave out eight Winner prizes (at £150) and 10 Highly Commended (at £75), with a further four for Outstanding Achievements. A full list of the winners are below and you can see a gallery of all the fabulous photos by clicking here.

The Ivor Picardo award for the most abundant veg patch

Winner: Alison Jones and the Southwell Road Community Garden

Highly commended: Inez Simms from the Edmundsbury Estate garden and Herald Douglas at Horle Walk

Against the Odds

Winner:Catherine Raitt and the Palace Road Estates Residents Association

Get Creative – Public Vote

Winner: Caldwell Estate

Highly Commended: Dave Sohanpal

Best School Garden – Public Vote

Winner: Sudbourne Primary School

Highly Commended: Hitherfield Primary School.

Most Imaginative Container – Public Vote

Winner: Edible Marsh’s Lower Marsh Market

Highly Commended: Coligny Court and Calais Gate

My Lockdown Garden

Winner: Miriam Thripp

Highly Commended – Natasha Lozada and her daughter Samy and Lambeth Towers Community Garden

Above and Beyond

Winners: Bobby Holder and Dawn Pusey from Loughborough Park, and Kathy Jones

Highly Commended: Larkhall Park, Lairdale Estate Community Garden and Rocio Ferro-Adams

Finally, we gave a huge cheer to four people for their Outstanding Achievement in 2020 – to Poppy George and her work at Rosendale Estate, to Fabrice Boltho for growing on thousands of seedlings at Myatt’s Fields Park, to Rob Finlay for his inspiring work on the pesticide campaign and to Chris Daniels for being the ‘best volunteer in the world’.

Links and notes from Lambeth Food Stories – 2021, the state of our food

Useful Links 
The recording can be found here 
Sign up TODAY to help identify food growing spaces in borough
As outlined by Kate Hogarth – here is the link to Lambeth’s Food Poverty and Insecurity Action Plan
Link to Lambeth Larder’s digital map as demonstrated by Virginia Nimarkoh
Joana Ferro’s presentation can be found here

Sadly, Pam Warhurst was not able to be with us.

Questions from the participants:

Do you have any guidelines for what is considered ‘food growing land’ e.g. size in square meters? We would say three square metres is worth developing for food growing.
Is it possible to show a tooltip when you hover a cursor over  the icons on the map? Currently you only get more information if you click on an icon. Sadly this is not possible
Do you have any criteria for roofs? If roofs are accessible and safe, then planters can be used here
Do you think that the influence of growing spaces within lambeth has changed people’s dietary choices or engendered any green values? We think that attitudes are changing, with the recognition that locally sourced, organic fruit and veg holds much greater nutritional value than anything that has been picked, stored in cold storage and shipped from across the world
Who do you expect to be the growers and lead the project in so many areas across a ward? We hope that more and more people will engage in food growing, as they see others doing so – it is catching! We hope that communities will form food growing groups (we know there are at least 200 such groups in the borough already)
Is there a page/guideline of recommended plants that will do well in Lambeth – season/type of soil? This is something we could start to compile – it’s a great idea
Is there a movement within the allotment world to make allotments a bit smaller so that more people could have them? This is a great idea. The allotment world is a bit of a closed shop to us! At present, we are not really engaging with allotment holders – we would love to!
Does the app include any AI to determine still viability? Arup had considered embedding AI/ Machine learning using satellite imagery developed inhouse by Arup but we chose to avoid IP agreement complexities but  aim of creating a methodology that could be easily adopted, replicated and scaled across other boroughs. 
Is there any link with farmers/etc to help with ‘how to grow education’?We are really interested in creating a directory of urban farmers and to develop internships and horticultural training for young people. We know that Myatt’s Fields Park are working on this too
Is there a link for people who want to grow food? This will be where IEL will help link people and place
Will the mapping be used so Lambeth Council provides a new designated Open Space for Food Growing, which is protected from development. as housing is all brownfield, so the land to grow food is not protected. A great question and something we hope we will be able to discuss with the Council once we have the evidence of available space that this map will create.
How creative can people be – could we identify eg flats with balconies where people could grow? We are working to identify space in the public realm this time around – we know that there are other groups looking to identify private spaces
Did I understand correctly that the mapping will carry on just till the end of this March? This is a short sharp project, but the public will be able to verify sites until the end of May
It would be good to know what happened to the WeGrowFor project Yes, this was set up to look at identifying unused private spaces and we were working quite closely with them around a year ago but everything has gone a little cold! But AllotMe has a similar business model which identifies places to grow food.

Two other questions were asked outside the event, which we are posing to the Council – they are:

The question is in two parts around open space land designation and equality of access. 
a. What land use processes will the council ensure this mapping will contribute to for long term protection of new land for food growing?
b.  Will an equality impact assessment of open space, as Croydon Council has commissioned, be undertaken to understand who has access and use to open spaces?
Dr Bridget Snaith is part of the commission , who completed an EIA on Queen Elizabeth Park, the former Olympic Park. Presentation from Festival of Place 2020 : Green space or white space?  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EkdtBNpZf4I


Virginia, the Lambeth larder map is fantastic, thanks for sharing.

Fantastic work Virginia

Excellent resource Virginia! Incredible work!

Norwood Forum considering the ACV route

Cuba has a great model to look at too.

In Buckinghamshire we run Grow to Give supporting allotment tenants to donate spare produce to the local food banks

We just started a project ‘Grow Lewisham’ we would love to be able to map growing spaces in Lewisham.

Brilliant session – thank you!

So interesting and inspiring.

Eden Nature Garden

Here’s a chance to hear from one of our latest group members

Could you tell us a little about yourselves?
Eden Nature Garden was created from a piece of disused church land in 2000 and over the last 20 years has evolved into a beautiful, tranquil garden, a haven for wildlife and a wonderful space for people to sit and enjoy being in nature. The garden is only about an acre in size but is home to a small meadow, lawns, a pond, an apiary of hives, which is managed by the London Beekeepers Association, and several raised beds where individuals without gardens of their own can grow vegetables. Our head gardener, Benny, organises a team of enthusiastic volunteers and we have an ever-growing Friends of Eden membership.

This is a very urban environment – have you found that people have really needed this space this year? Despite the lockdown, have you had increased interest in joining the garden?
When we went into the first lockdown in March 2020, we wondered if we should close the garden. It soon became apparent, however, that Eden was precisely what people needed and many locals discovered us for the first time. The garden is at its best in spring and early summer and so the timing for first-time visitors was perfect. Our volunteer numbers went up and so did our sales of honey!

What would you say are your biggest challenges?
Eden is an unmanned site and we occasionally suffer from anti-social behaviour. This forces us to close the garden for a few weeks at a time which is very frustrating. One of our other main challenges is our lack of water. We collect the rainwater from the shed roof, but it isn’t enough to irrigate the whole garden and if we have a prolonged dry spell, the garden can look parched. We’re raising money to collect and store rainwater from the church roof nearby. It’s always a challenge to find money for capital projects in the garden.

And what are your greatest successes?
One of our greatest successes has been to keep the garden going over the last 20 years on a shoestring budget and with the enthusiasm of its volunteers, especially those who’ve joined us over the last 12 months. We have a strong committee and the potential to extend our reach into the local community. Creating Eden has enabled the local area to feel safe. A wide variety of artists are now visiting Eden to draw inspiration for their work.

Once we emerge from this terrible pandemic, what’s next for you at Eden?
Eden is being increasingly valued by the wider community, and we would like to promote the garden as a centre of excellence for wildlife. We aim to educate people about the importance of encouraging the local flora and fauna and preserving their habitats. We hope to do this through a lecture series, running workshops in the community and installing informative signs in the garden.

We are so delighted that you have joined Incredible Edible Lambeth? How can we be of help to you and your organisation?
Eden is keen to develop its outreach into the wider community and to increase awareness of biodiversity through organic gardening, banning the use of pesticides and the management of food waste. We believe that Incredible Edible shares the same ideas and we would love our two organisations to work together to promote this practice across the borough..

Benny, thanks so much for talking with us – we really hope we can come and video your beautiful garden before too long.

Quote from Esra:

“Born and raised in Aegean in a Cretan Turkish family, I connect to my family through the earth in Eden. The smell of the compost takes me back to my Granma’s garden, to the corner we used play hide and seek. The bay leaves from the garden align the stews i make here to my Aunts nourishing recipes. Eden has been a buoy for me navigating through the pandemic and challenges of settling in a new country.”  

Act today on pesticide use across the UK! Consultation ends 26th February

The news has been filled with articles on the emergency neonicotinoids derogation, but little attention has been given to the Government’s launch of the draft revised UK National Action Plan for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides (NAP). The NAP will set out how pesticides will be used across the UK, and this consultation is our best opportunity in a generation to have our voices heard!

While many organisations will be taking a stand against agricultural pesticide use, few are highlighting a critical gap in the current draft: reducing the use of pesticides in urban and other non-agricultural settings. The current draft NAP does not contain any commitments to phase out this unnecessary exposure to pesticides for millions of UK citizens.

We have a chance to call on the Government to ban all amenity use pesticides (urban pesticides, but also railways, road verges, football pitches etc.) to better protect the health of both people and wildlife!
It’s vital that the UK Government hears from as many of us as possible before 26th February when the consultation ends. Wherever you live in the UK do make sure your voice is heard

You can send a quick email to Defra, you can join us for the Submission Blitz on Tuesday 23rd at 6pm to copy out the consultation guide we’ve created, and particularly helpful would for you to spread the word, sharing our call to action on your social media accounts and further.