Covid-19 and our gardening - please read

Meet a new member: Jerome Webb, group member Organic Lambeth

Could you tell us a little about how you got interested in growing food?From a young age I have been growing vegetables in my back garden. As I got older I realized the demand for locally produced organic food. I have completed a Diploma Level 2 in horticulture which has helped to give me both practical and theoretical skills in growing in raised beds with a no dig method.


What are your ambitions for the Carmelita Centre? Our ultimate goal is to make the Carmelita Centre the hub for producing locally made compost. Many sites struggle with having readily available compost on the go, we hope to bridge that gap. Therefore we aim to construct a compost bin area and green the area to attract more wildlife and increase biodiversity. 

What are you hoping to gain out of being an Incredible Edible Lambeth member? We are hoping to receive support with materials, seeds and seedlings. We would also like to be added to the green IEL route which will be a great start in doing our part for the community.

What are you most excited about in 2020? We are looking forward to contributing to the greening of the Vauxhall area as it needs a lot of work. We also have a tree planting session in early March which is a lovely community event to help boost wildlife in the area. There are other neglected spaces which we will be utilizing to help local residents grow their own food. To conclude, we are looking forward to collaborating with other organisations to help reduce our carbon footprint through growing and eating locally produced organic foods.

How did you hear about Incredible Edible Lambeth? Whilst browsing on the internet 

What would be the most helpful thing that IEL could do for you? The installation of a rat proof compost bin, provide compost, seeds and seedlings.

Thanks Jerome – we really look forward to working with you in 2020!

Calling all seed savers!

Lettuce seeds
Lettuce seedheads, courtesy of Richard Galpin, London Freedom Seed Bank

Do you think seed-saving is important?

Do you save seeds?

Do you grow food from open-pollinated seeds? 

Hi, my name is Katie Dow and I’m a researcher at the University of Cambridge. I’m looking for people who grow their own food from saved seeds, who participate in seed swaps and/or buy open-pollinated seeds. I would like to talk to you about how and why you save seeds. 

You do not have to be an active seed saver or be part of any particular group to participate, you can just be interested in the idea or support those who do. If you are interested in participating in this project or would like to know more, please do get in touch. 

Email me at kld52@cam.ac.uk

You can also find me on Twitter @katieldow and at www.cornucopiaseed.uk.  

Doorstep gardening

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 incrediblelambeth@gmail.com

Photo by Debbie Sears for Blooming Lambeth Awards 2019, winning front garden at Hardy House

Introducing our newest Group Member: Ki Kefir

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?

Go to our website to find out how to buy from us

Finding (and donating) good food this Christmas

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

IEL and Engie; a collaboration

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 incrediblelambeth@gmail.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.

An offer 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.

Just email us at incrediblelambeth@gmail.com to get things moving.

Short Film commissioned

One, Two, Tree

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.

Lambeth Horticultural Society; free membership for our group members!

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 incrediblelambeth@gmail.com to get hold of your Incredible Edible Lambeth Group Membership card (letting us know the community garden you are involved with).