A new community scheme aiming to encourage people to grow their own food will launch in Lewisham in early September.
Grow Wild, run by a community partnership, is designed to promote unusual and inventive ways to engage people in food growing, cooking and sharing. It intends to make New Cross, Telegraph Hill and Brockley the ‘centre of excellence in inner-city food growing’.
Funded by the Big Lottery and Local Food funders and with £90,000 to spend over the next two years, the project will work closely with local partners to promote inner-city food growing and sharing.
Imogen Slater, co-author of the grant application and a Board Member of Edmund Waller Community services, one of the six partners in the Grow Wild Project, told ELL:
“Grow Wild is a project promoting the pleasures of growing and eating food. We want to connect people, draw new people into food growing, and draw more people in to sharing skills and experience.”
Grow Wild will not only encourage urban food growing, but also create three part-time local jobs for a project manager, food activities co-coordinator and growing activities coordinator to make ‘wild fun things happen around food’.
Jill Mountford, Community Development Manager, NXG Trust, added:
“It’s our intention to bring together more than 20 local groups and projects, sometimes doing small activities, sometimes doing big community events, but whatever we do we want it to be fun, daring and involve as a broad a range of people as possible.”
Grow Wild partners include Common Growth Community School, Bold Vision, Transition Towns New Cross and the Hill Station Community Café. The project has also received support from many other organizations including Lewisham Council, Telegraph Hill Community Centre, New Cross People’s library and other.
Grow Wild will officially launch in September with an aim to ‘ensure maximum benefits for local people’.
Those wishing to get involved or simply find out more about the project should contact Grow Wild on firstname.lastname@example.org.
EastLondonLines asked people in New Cross what they think about growing their own vegetables.
Alex Kaula, 33, Trainee neuro scientist, Stoke Newington
“Growing vegetables is a nice thing to do, but I don’t do it. We have a garden with plants in it, but I just water them. It sounds like a good initiative for the community”
Irfan Khan, 25, Newsagents assistant, Leyton
“I grow spinach, roses and sunflowers. If you grow your own you don’t need to buy vegetables because they’re fresh in your garden, so you save money.
However in such big city as London growing vegetables is only for people who have a garden and time to spare.
It’s great that Grow Wild is bringing this to people’s awareness and encourages them to spend time in the garden; it’s good that they’re doing this project.”
Patti el Hammami, 21, Goldsmiths graduate from Brockley
“I don’t grow vegetables but we have mint in our garden. I think it’s very healthy to grow your own vegetables; also you won’t be going down to Sainsbury’s all the time, buying vegetables with packaging – they don’t taste real. Your own vegetables are organic and safe.
Yet people in big cities don’t usually grow vegetables as they’re just renting houses and there isn’t always a garden. Also people are busy and they have no time.
It’s great that someone is willing to encourage people to grow their own vegetables.”
Rosie Maurice, 26, Theatre maker, Greenwich
“I don’t grow my own vegetables, but I live with my mum now and she has some in her garden. I think the project is a really good idea, any way of being self-sufficient is great. Also it is good to be connected to what you eat and put your energy into positive things.”
Corrinne Lennox , 37. Academic, Forest Hill
“I grow my own vegetables on my balcony and it is great. The project sounds like a really good idea, especially to get people involved who usually wouldn’t grow vegetables.
Lee Barney, 42, Academic, Forest Hill
“I’m not that involved in the growing, but the home-grown vegetables are so much tastier than those from the supermarkets. We grow herbs, like mint and chives which is good”
Interviews by Georgia Mulvaney-Thomerson, Michael Fariny, Ufuoma Essi and Adefemi Bajulaye