Volunteers sow the seeds for a ‘local food revolution’
Published by Anonymous for Circle in Housing and also in Communities, Environment
Local volunteers have transformed a derelict patch of waste land into a small scale urban farm which is providing exotic fresh food for residents in Waltham Forest.
Circle Housing Group devised the innovative way of making use the land at Clyde Place, Leyton, after the area had become overgrown and strewn with rubbish.
The work to convert the garden was carried out over the summer by five volunteers recruited by community food growers Organiclea. Two local trainees, Ben Houghton and Kristen Park, have been hired to manage the growing of the food.
The focus for this first season has been on growing unusual, oriental leafy vegetables such as pak choi, shungiku or okahijiki. The produce is being sold on a weekly vegetable market stall in Walthamstow.
Ben Houghton, 28, who had very little experience of growing prior to working of the project, said: “By experimenting I now have much better methods of planting and I have learnt a lot about growing unusual salads and leaves. It feels good to be joining in the local food revolution, even on a very small scale. I feel like I’m doing my bit and enjoying it.’’
Neil Brown, Managing Director for Circle 33, part of Circle Housing Group said: “Clyde Place is a great example of what can be achieved by communities working together to improve the local area.
“This project has added new green lungs to an urban area as well as equipping local people with skills for life, which could enable them to make a living out of growing food.”
The apprentices will be sharing their experiences next year when Organiclea launches its Food Works horticultural training partnership with the London Borough of Waltham Forest which will also give entrepreneurial volunteers the opportunity to take on a small site and grow their own produce.