Covid-19 and our gardening - please read

Growing Up

Earlier this month, we had planned to launch this lovely short film about four amazing primary schools in Lambeth who are growing food. Our current crisis meant we were not able to meet together to celebrate (and encourage new food growers) but we thought you’d like to watch the film anyway, so here it is:

Growing Up, a film about four food growing schools in Lambeth (click the link ‘Growing Up’ to watch on YouTube)

child with microscope looking at insects outdoors

Covid-19 and our gardening

EDITED: 15th October 2020

For anyone uncertain about visiting their community garden, we have compiled guidelines for visiting our community gardens from a variety of sources.

Food Growing for our Communities: we have received more funding to keep this going through the winter..get involved today!

Blooming Lambeth Awards 2020 – our biggest event of the year has had to go virtual this year; judging is under way – and we will hold an online celebration on Tuesday 17th November, from 7pm – check out this link to join.

All our events are virtual and are run through zoom – from member discussions to zoom garden tours – we will keep you in touch with our activities through our social media. If you have an idea for an event, get in touch incrediblelambeth@gmail.com

We have posted downloadable versions of our walks onto the website – please do print out and use them for your daily 30 minute exercise; our new Vauxhall map shows how many steps and Km the two routes are.

Insect Love

Have you heard about the catastrophic decline in insects? There’s been a 76% drop in insect life in the past 20 years. “If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos” E.O. Wilson.

But don’t feel helpless – get informed and watch our Biodiversity Emergency webinar to learn more and gain some very practical advice.

And here are six steps you can take right now:

Step 1: never use harmful pesticides (sign our pledge and go pesticide free).

Step 2: put pressure on your local plant centre or DIY store to stop stocking harmful pesticides

Step 3: Let Lambeth Council know that you no longer want your street or estate sprayed with harmful pesticide. Contact your local councillor and streetchampions@lambeth.gov.uk. Or email us today for more information – incrediblelambeth@gmail.com

Step 4: ‘Say No to the Mow’: let your grass grow longer, or if it’s not your lawn, put pressure on your Management to get the contractors to mow less regularly (hashtag nomowzone). PlantLife are running a campaign.

Step 5: plant pollinator-friendly plants. For bees of all kinds, the two single best plants are willows and brambles. There’s a bee plant list at https://www.cotswoldgardenflowers.net/some-hints-and-tips/. Pollinators generally love buddleia, solidago, hylotelephium (formerly known as sedum), ivy, daisies of all kinds, fennel and other umbellifers. For caterpillars: nettles, ivy, mustard, garlic, birds-foot trefoil, holly and rhamnus. Register with Grow Wild for guidance on wildflower planting.

Step 6: make or buy a bee hotel – it’s as simple as drilling some holes in a block of wood! (IEL plans to hold a bee hotel workshop soon!)

Would you like to share your experiences as a food grower?

Do you sometimes rely on the food you grow to feed yourself and/or your family?

If yes… 

Would you be willing to show Hollie around your food growing space and answer some questions?

You would be contributing to Hollie’s research at UCL into urban food security – hopefully helping others in the future.

It shouldn’t take longer than an hour. You can withhold your identity if desired. 

Your help would be appreciated 🙂

You can email us incrediblelambeth@gmail.com or Hollie directly on ucbqhca@ucl.ac.uk

Thank you!

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