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.