Do you live on an estate and love to grow plants directly outside your front door? If so, we’d love to hear from you!
This year, in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Council has been undertaking clearances of doorstep ‘gardens’. Though we recognise that all caution needs to be taken with regards to fire risk, we have been made aware of some rather heavy handed action by local officers. Sadly, two of our beautiful award winning gardens from the Blooming Lambeth Awards have been told they have to dismantle their gardens.
If you have had this experience, we would like to hear from you. We are asking for a more sympathetic, case by case, approach to front garden management and need your thoughts on this. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Debbie Sears for Blooming Lambeth Awards 2019, winning front garden at Hardy House
Who knew that the wonder-food ‘kefir’ is being produced in Lambeth? We didn’t – until Ki Kefir became a member of IEL..
Here’s a Q&A we had with Sam Murphy, the co-founder
How long have you been running Ki Kefir?
We started producing kefir in January 2019
What exactly is it you sell?
We sell organic milk kefir. It is made traditionally with living cultures and the finest cow’s milk from grass fed cows from a farm in East Sussex. This creates a tasty and powerful kefir full of living bacteria and goodness. We also bottle this in recyclable glass bottles and deliver direct to you door. Think: 21st century milkman (who sells kefir)!
What motivated you to set up a food business?
We are passionate about ethical and sustainable farming and foods. As lovers of fermented foods (especially kefir) we felt frustrated that a product made with one ingredient, in a country surrounded by great dairy farms, was not being made to its full potential. When made traditionally and with great milk, kefir can become a real powerhouse drink, offering a wealth of health benefits. We have teamed with a great farm in East Sussex, who use sustainable methods that contribute to the environment to create a kefir that we believe to be the real deal!
And why did you choose Lambeth?
We have lived in Lambeth for 6 years and so it was only natural that we started locally with our supportive neighbours and friends. Lambeth is a great food hub with New Covent Garden market, our local farmers markets and lots of potential to grow with many new businesses that are starting to flourish here.
What are you hoping to get out of being an Incredible Edible Lambeth member?
We want to educate and share the knowledge we have learnt over the last 5 years whilst researching and learning all about gut health and fermented foods with the people of Lambeth and across London. We want to encourage people to introduce these simple food systems into their daily routine and the array of benefits it can offer by doing so. Incredible Edible Lambeth is an early step in our starting to spread this message far and wide.
That’s great Sam, thanks – and how can we get hold of some of your delicious sounding kefir?
With the help of Lambeth Larder, we’ve put together a list of places to find food in Lambeth this Christmas. Some places provide a hot meal, others are food banks. If you’re able to donate food, then take a look here for the centres, or donate at the food banks during their opening times:
Ace of Clubs, St Alphonsus Road, Clapham, open to people sleeping rough, open 12-3pm weekdays
Brixton Seventh Day Adventist Church, Santley St, Thurs 6-8pm
Brixton Food Bank, St Paul’s Church, Ferndale Rd, Tues and Sat 10-1pm
Brixton Soup Kitchen, 297 Coldharbour Lane, open 10-3pm weekdays
Clapham Park Food Bank, Bonneville Centre, Poynders Rd, Tues and Fri 11-2pm
Compliments of the House, Coldharbour Lane, open 7-9pm weekdays
The People’s Fridge, found within Pop Brixton – food donated to fridge, anyone welcome to take what they need
The Platform (aka Loughborough Farm Community Cafe), Loughborough Junction, Wed-Fri 12.30-3.30pm
Refugee Community Kitchen, SW2 1JG, free food for anyone in need Sundays 6.30-8.30pm
Ruach City Church, Vida Walsh Centre, Saltoun Rd, Tues 7-8pm
Stockwell Park Community Centre, Aytoun Place, free community meal, Friday 7-8pm
Streatham Food Bank, Barcombe Ave, Wed 7-8.30pm
Teen Challenge, nr Black Cultural Archive, Brixton Wed 9-11pm
Vauxhall Food Bank, Tyers St, Wed and Sat 11.30-1.30pm
Waterloo Food Bank, Oasis Centre, Kennington Rd, Tues 1-2.30pm, Fri, Sat 10-12pm
Waterloo Food Bank, St John’s Waterloo, Wed 3-5pm
Webber Street Day Centre, Webber St, Waterloo, every day except Fri and Sun 9-12pm
West Norwood Community Shop, Vale St, Mon-Fri 10-5pm. Become a member and access low cost, high quality surplus food.
For more information on sourcing emergency food, Lambeth Larder Community Food Resource
Engie is continuing to offer top soil, scaffold boards, trees and volunteers, due to incredible demand, there is a bit of a waiting list, so bear with us. Let us know your requirements by email email@example.com
“I can’t thank you enough for putting us onto Julian and their team of volunteers. They have done an incredible job today, when they finished, I felt like crying, the garden looks SO MUCH better! “ Myatts Field South community gardeners
Member gardens who have already taken advantage of this:
Sudbourne Primary School has received top soil: “thank you so much for this. We will finally be able to fill our planters and start to plant our crops as soon as the weather warms up”
Lairdale Community Garden has received scaffold boards
Streatham Common Community Garden has received top soil
Myatt’s Field South community garden – has had a team of volunteers and some scaffold boards..
Rosendale Gardens – will be receiving 20M of scaffold boards
Hemans Gardens and Richard Atkins Primary School are on the waiting list
Below is what is being offered:
An offer of volunteers: do you need a big job accomplished in the New Year but are wondering where you will get the people power? Then apply to us and Engie will help you out. We will be creating a schedule of volunteers and the company needs six weeks’ notice, so get your request in before Christmas, so the wheels can start turning.
An offer of trees: would you like some trees for your site? 2020 is going to be the year of tree planting, as we all try to mitigate against our climate emergency. Do you have a patch of land that would be appropriate for a tree? Let us know as soon as you can and we will request them from Engie.
Anoffer of topsoil: this can be provided upon request
An offer of planks or railway sleepers for raised beds, or any other construction project: as above, just ask and we will see what can be done.
Open Garden Squares Weekend takes place on 6-7 June 2020. Each year, the organisers reach out to find new hidden gems around the borough, if you missed your chance this year, why not think about applying next time around.
IEL has commissioned the Independent Film Trust to make a film about our four winning schools in the Blooming Lambeth Awards. The aim of making the film is to reveal what a difference it has made to these four schools, to highlight the successes and pitfalls and (hopefully) to get other schools thinking about outdoor learning in the next season. Thank you to Streatham Wells, Jubilee, Heathbrook and Johanna Oasis primary schools for agreeing to be part of this exciting venture.
Streatham Common Community Garden has been chosen to benefit from the next round of Co-op’s Local Community Fund. Every time a Co op member buys a selected own brand product or service, 1% of the money they spend goes to local causes in their neighbourhood. Find out more here
We have an arrangement with Lambeth Horticultural Society for free membership for all our group members. This will give you access to the Hut where discounted garden equipment is available. Contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to get hold of your Incredible Edible Lambeth Group Membership card (letting us know the community garden you are involved with).
Are you looking for a new set of tools for your community garden? The Tools Shed Project beautifully refurbishes old tools and gives them away several times a year to communities. Register your interest here and you will be contacted a couple of weeks before the next giveaway at Wormwood Scrubs on 18th January. There will also be some bird boxes and planters available, so if you have specific requests, email email@example.com and they will try to accommodate you.
MOST importantly – please drop off old broken tools at our partner The Remakery, 51 Lilford Road, where they will be collected by the project.
Sukant and Jerome met earlier this year in March. Sukant is a keen community and urban permaculturalist and Jerome is passionate about horticulture in general. They met at Pedlars’ Park in Lambeth, where Jerome was taking some cuttings, soon after they have spent this whole year greening the Carmelita Community Garden, helping with the Vauxhall City Farm garden, taken over neglected planters on Whitgift Street and conducted all kinds of guerilla gardening across estates and communities, planting mainly strawberries and tomatoes around the Vauxhall area. Many children, young people and families were involved throughout the year in these projects simply by passing and getting involved immediately, especially the children who loved to help with planting and watering.
Having grown rocket leaves, lettuces, spring onions and herbs they decided to throw a community BBQ at the Carmelita Centre in August, to which dozens of people from the community came to enjoy the lettuce harvest and enjoy the food people cooked on the BBQ. And this is the big vision, to develop food resilience and security with the community, to then use the harvests and yields to put on community eating events, to collectively enjoy the food and use it as a means to bring people together, develop understanding of environment, food production and histories, develop health and well being and just enjoy the wonderful sight of the small children picking edible berries and fruits from the plants.
Sukant has had a green light from Lambeth Council to start a food growing project at Pedlars’ Park, which is the first phase of a multiphase approach across Vauxhall to develop some of the green spaces into edible food forests and gardens that the community can grow and distribute at community events. They are currently enjoying particularly making their own soil and looking towards another big push from the start of Spring next year, but in the meantime you might see them around, please do stop and say ‘hello’ and have a conversation. It’s when Sukant and Jerome are out in the community growing that conversations with members of the community are had and its the best moment in the open and with the plants to have conversations as to what else we can achieve collectively.