Covid-19 and our gardening - please read

Launch of Sprout Up Schools

There’s a great new initiative in Lambeth called Sprout Up Schools. It is a kind of ‘one stop shop’ for any school that is eager to explore the possibilities of outdoor learning, growing food and re-connecting with Nature.

Founder Seonaid Royall has worked with Jubilee Primary School and other schools in the Windmill Cluster. She co-designed (with the kids) an RHS show garden ‘Believe in Tomorrow’ for Hampton Court in 2019 and shares a passion for change.

Seonaid said “Sprout Up School’s mission is to help schools make the most of their outdoor spaces and reconnect children with nature. Sprout Up School’s belief is that when children have a strong relationship with the outside world, they’re happier, more confident, and more responsive. It’s good for kids, it’s good for teachers, and it’s good for the planet. Together, we can develop a plan to maximise the potential of schools outdoor spaces and provide the skills, knowledge, and partnerships necessary to help make it happen. “

Visit the website for more information or email sproutupschools@gmail.com

We’ve got funding for more food growing!

We are thrilled to have received a pot of funding as part of the third wave of the London Community Response Fund, funded by the London Community Foundation.

We plan to support and escalate food growing across the borough, providing seedlings and advice on how to grow through the difficult winter months, when light levels are low and the weather can be windy, cold and wet. We will provide regular videos to keep you on track and will attempt to distribute seedlings in two waves – one in November and one in February.

We will also create new walking trails, to enable more people to get out and about and find their nearest green spaces and community gardens.

Would you like to be involved with us? We are hiring for a 1day/week assistant co-ordinator role, and will be looking for people to help with guided walking tours in the Spring. Get in touch today if you’d like to know more. incrediblelambeth@gmail.com

Glyphosate is history on our estates!

THANK YOU to everyone who continues to put pressure on our Council to change it’s policies on the use of this harmful chemical. We need to keep going and achieve a similar result for our streets.

Press release, Friday 7th August 2020

Lambeth Council says it has today (Friday) ended the use of
glyphosate on its housing estates, “effective immediately.”

“We have beeen phasing out our use of glyphosate across the board,
working towards ceasing to use the pesticide across all its services
by the time its new contracts for waste collection and street
cleansing begin in 2021″ says a council statement.

“The use of herbicides has a significant impact on the environment by
removing plants that are an important source of food for a variety of
native insects. “The council acknowledges that we are facing climate
and biodiversity crises and is committed to doing all it can to tackle
these.

“The use of glyphosate for routine weed management is now banned
across all parks and open spaces and on Lambeth housing estates, as
well as to treat weed growth in tree pits across the borough. “On top
of this, the council has cut its use to treat weeds on streets by a
third and continues to trial alternative methods.

“The way local councils are funded doesn’t usually allow for research
and development, but Lambeth is committed to investigating all
potential ways of ending its use of glyphosate and improving its
biodiversity

“Trials of alternative methods, such as hot foam treatments, are
ongoing, but they tend to have a separate set of severe negative
environmental impacts including huge amounts of wasted water. “We are
continuing to explore selective weeding and increased manual weeding
too as ways to control excessive weed growth.

“We also continue to offer residents the chance to group together and
opt their street out of the weed-spraying schedule, whilst taking
responsibility for keeping their street free of weeds until the new
service begins.”

Word from the Cabinet

Cllr Jennifer Brathwaite, Lambeth’s cabinet member for housing and
homelessness said: “One of my priorities since I took over this role
was to look at how we could quickly end the use of glyphosate on our
estates as part of our commitment to improving the borough’s
biodiversity.

“I am pleased that we have been able to do it and we will look to
suitable alternatives to ensure we keep our estates clean, tidy and
free of trip hazards as well as places where nature thrives.” (Source:
Lambeth council’s official website Love Lambeth)

Meet a group – Larks Garden

 

Hi Sylvie, it was great to meet you last week and have a tour of your garden. (watch the virtual tour here). Could you let us know a little more here please?

How many people are involved with the garden?

We have 25 members but volunteers come when they want, so it is quite irregular; it could be in winter time: 4 volunteers, but some weeks ago we had 20 volunteers turn up, so we have to adapt. We are all volunteers, no one is paid to work in the garden

Wow – 20 people all at once must have been challenging! Could you remind us when you are open for volunteers please?

Every Saturday – 11am – 2pm

What are your greatest challenges?

On two occasions, we have felt out of our depth, when working with people who suffer from serious mental health. We want to support everybody and we know that the benefit of gardening is very powerful to help in moments of distress, but we also have to protect everyone. It is a fine balance but generally, it works very well.

That’s so true – we all know the value of getting into the garden but keeping everyone safe must be a priority too..

What do you consider to be your greatest successes?

I think our greatest success is that after years working in the community garden, all the park has changed; more people are using it and respect it too. When we first gardened here, we used to find a lot of needles, dog poo … it is now very rare. And people love to walk in the Larks garden and involve their children. We feel people are talking more and we feel more connected to the local community.  And of course, we have seen the beautiful plants growing from the hard work all the volunteers put in.

That’s such a great achievement!

And finally, what would you like help with (from IEL and/or its members?)

We always need soil and manure, and trees and plant donations. And we would like to be connected with our local doctor’s surgery. 
We would also love to know more about the plants we already grow and what are their (medicinal) benefits. And what other plants that we could grow safely to help certain conditions…

I think there’s an opportunity for an event here (maybe online for now!) – talking about the medicinal qualities of the plants we grow..great idea Sylvie! Thanks for sharing with usyou have worked miracles here.

FIND OUT MORE about the Larks by going here

A practical guide for community gardens to self-review..

Growing Connections is a project of Sustain, funded by the Centre for Ageing Better and DCMS through the age-friendly and inclusive volunteering programme. The project was delivered by our partner, Capital Growth, Sustain’s network of community food gardens across London. It was designed to facilitate, collate and share best practice across the network and beyond.

Capital Growth connected gardens, buddied local projects together and recruited a team of community leaders to form a Community Garden Group. The group met through 2019 to explore positive and negative volunteering experiences, any barriers to people getting involved and the principles of inclusive volunteering. The end result is a guide containing the principles of age-friendly and inclusive volunteering, tips for best practice and provides a tool to self-review community food projects’ inclusivity. To find out more or download the guide visit: www.capitalgrowth.org/growingconnections