New Community Garden in Lewisham Launches Crowdfunder to Grow Food for Borough Residents
Grow Lewisham wants to help alleviate food poverty by producing organic fruit and vegetables – from scotch bonnets to callaloo.
London, 17 February 2021 – New South East London network Grow Lewisham wants to produce fresh fruit and vegetables for those living in food poverty – and they’ve just launched a crowdfunder for the project.
The food growing initiative aims to supply foodbanks and community organisations with healthy, fresh produce, as well as help others set up their own communal gardens throughout the borough.
It’s hoping to raise £4,500 for the project by 11 May 2021, as part of its application to the Mayor of London’s Make London programme.
The group will kickstart its growing programme this year on its newly established community garden in Downham – which is called “The Plot” – and will focus on growing culturally diverse fruit, herbs and vegetables to match the needs of Lewisham’s diverse communities.
Valerie Goode, founder of sustainable fashion network Coco Collective and multi award winning ethical womenswear brand Kitty Ferreira, said: “Coco Collective is partnering with Grow Lewisham to bring the BAME community to community gardens. These are spaces we’re not typically occupying, and that is partly by default of the types of foods that are typically grown in community garden spaces, and the fact that they are usually occupied by white middle class people. We want to shake that up, disrupt the whole perception of community garden spaces and create something that is not only inclusive but also hopefully a little bit more colourful and energised and soulful.”
Goode added: “Coco Collective will be focusing on growing Afro-Caribbean foods, which will be largely experimental. To get the younger generation involved I see us having a little bit of music, and some events and activities going on that can be directed by the young people.”
The group has the support of Lewisham Council, which owns the land of the Downham community garden, as well as a broad range of organisations including Lewisham Local, Capital Growth, and Climate Action Lewisham.
Lewisham has one of the lowest rates of food security in London, and tens of thousands of its residents have to compromise on food or go hungry.
Grow Lewisham – which includes members of Coco Collective, Grow Wild New Cross, and Lee Fair Share Time Bank – said its project is a response to food poverty, as well as the likelihood of future food shortages arising from pandemics, Brexit and climate change.
Using permaculture methods and sustainable practices, the group will showcase vertical growing, no dig gardening, indoor and container planting.
The group ultimately hopes to revitalise more unused spaces around Lewisham, turning them into valuable community resources, and inspire other people to do the same – be it on a balcony, a disused area or a piece of wasteland. It will support other groups to set up their own community gardens throughout the borough, offering a plant nursery as well as free advice and training.
Grow Lewisham member Bradley Pritchard said: “From converting unused spaces into food-growing hubs to running workshops on how to grow a diverse range of foods, Grow Lewisham seeks to address many of the inequalities we face in our own communities, for example around access, distribution, and provision. As it is a grassroots organisation, its purpose will constantly evolve to meet the needs of Lewisham residents – you could say it’s as organic as the food we grow!”
The Lewisham initiative reflects a broader trend of people coming together to grow food for their local community. Capital Growth’s Community Harvest initiative – which supports Grow Lewisham – saw 50 gardens across London, Manchester and Reading produce over 4.1 tonnes of produce for over 1,000 families last year.
Lewisham residents interested in setting up their own community garden spaces / foodbanks looking to link up with the project can contact Grow Lewisham via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grow Lewisham Press Manager