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 email@example.com
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’.
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.
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.”
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.
Myatt’s Fields Park is an amazing community park. It has everything you could possibly want, from sports facilities and playgrounds to peaceful places to wander such as their 19th century bandstand, roundhouse, gardens and paths. But what we love most about it, of course, is their veg garden!
Myatt’s Fields Park has been awarded Green Flag status for its quality green space. The park has also won awards for growing food for local people – and developing habitats for pollinators, like bees. All of this helped along by their expert gardener, Fabrice Baltho.
Growing isn’t just for the spring and summer! To this end, Fabrice and our very own IEL director Marj Landels have put together an excellent series of quick videos with growing tips on what you can grow over the winter. You can find the first of the series as a taster below and the rest you can view on their website here: How can I grow my own food?
You may have noticed that we are giving away seeds..we decided that without our annual seed swap, we wanted to send out seeds to our members – some seeds are stock from last year (so may not germinate so well), others are this year’s stock, kindly provided by Franchi Seeds, and the rest, we have bought from the Real Seed Company.
We were able to offer our last years seeds to 70 people and within 3 days all of these seeds were spoken for. Luckily, due to Franchi’s generosity, we were able to re-open our offer and provide a more diverse set of seeds seeds to double the number of people!
If you signed up for seeds from us, we have ONE BIG REQUEST: let’s build food resilience by saving seeds this year. We are asking you to grow the small number of Real Seeds you receive from us with care and attention, look out for the strongest plant, and set it aside to save the seed and share it with all of us next year – can you do that? It would be a great thing to do, especially given we have a seed shortage in this country (thanks to Brexit). To get more information on your Real Seeds and how to seed save, visit their website.
Paolo Arrigo from Franchi tells us that he has not received a single delivery from Italy in 44 days. In his words “it’s a disaster”. You might like to read this article in which he is interviewed.
We were so pleased to host this packed hour, hearing from people from around Lambeth and beyond about the possibilities for community composting. You can watch the hour-long session on our youtube channel here.
There was so much info raised but here are some of the things mentioned:
Patrick Holden mentioned
Dirt to Soil by Gabe Brown
Do Grow: start with 10 simple vegetables by (his daughter!) Alice Holden
There was some interest in the compost bin design that the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership is using – IEL now has the pdf for this, so please get in touch with us for that information.
Lou (aka Rocky the Pug) from New York City has asked us to lobby to save the NY composting project – please show your support on Insta @saveourcompost or Twitter @saveNYCCompost. Lou also mentioned an Emerging Composter Competition which you can find here – you can vote for ‘Rocky the Pug’ here
and if you’re not yet composting: why not join a MakeSoil.org site? It’s free to sign up.
What will you choose to plant this year? Will it be whatever seed you can get hold of, something new, or something tried and tested? Have you saved seed or are you buying it? Or do you have any seed you’d like to share?
We’d love to know what you’re planning – is there one place you always go to for tips? Do you plan out your garden with a drawing? If so, what does that look like? Would you like to share? We’d love to hear from you!
On the seed front, we have been looking into buying seed and we are finding that the quality organic ‘real’ seed suppliers are already overwhelmed – Real Seeds re-opens for business on 25th January, as does Tamar Organics. The wonderful Bingenhaemar is closed to new business. Kings Seeds is also shut down temporarily (it stocks an organic range). Franchi Seeds, a family run seed business with a range of organic (but not open source*, we think) seems to be the only seed business that is trading right now! BUT – don’t worry, we have it covered with seeds that we can donate from last year (may not germinate quite so well) and another source we are working on..go HERE to register your interest in receiving a range of veg seed soon.
Lockdown reading and watching:
Have you seen Charles Dowding’s veg growing books? They are an invaluable resource.
We have been recommended Dirt to Soil: One family’s journey into regenerative agriculture by Gabe Brown
Have you listened to The Dirt podcast – an offshoot of Grow Your Own magazine.
Or have you watched the film Demain or Qu’est-ce qu’on attend? (What are we waiting for?) – both feature food growing in urban settings.
Photo: courtesy Hitherfield School
*Open Source seeds – go here to find out more about how seeds are bred today and why we should all be looking to either seed save or buy from open source suppliers. Find out about Seed Sovereignty
Last month, we announced that we’d been awarded funding. Here’s more news about the project:
We are working with six estates – Ethelred, Vauxhall Gardens, Holland Town, Myatts Fields South, St Martin’s and Central Hill.
Do you live on one of these estates and would like to get involved in greening your estate? If so, get in touch with Poppy today firstname.lastname@example.org
If not, but you would like to join (or form) a gardening group on your estate, why not get in touch with us too and you can join a growing number of people who want their land managed differently, email@example.com
We are very grateful to the Mayor of London’s fund