Grow Lewisham has recently established "The Plot", a community garden in Downham, Lewisham. The site will be our hub for both growing healthy food for the community, and sharing knowledge and resources to help others set up micro farms and community gardens in their own neighbourhoods.
The Plot will be an experimental growing space where we will cultivate the wide range of fruit, herbs and vegetables needed for the diverse communities in Lewisham. Using permaculture methods and sustainable practices, we will showcase vertical growing, no dig gardening, indoor and container planting, we will provide practical advice on what can be grown and how to grow it. Be it a balcony, a disused area or a piece of wasteland, we will support community groups and individuals to find the best way to grow food in any available space. We will grow seedlings and starter plants to help groups get started, offer advice and volunteers, plus produce for local foodbanks and community food projects.
What we'll deliver:
- An abundance of food produce
- A plant nursery
- Experimental food growing beds
- A 'start up' pack
- Free advice and training
Why it's a great idea:
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. Our project is a response to this, as well as the likelihood of future food shortages arising from pandemics, Brexit and climate change.
Our project will give people in Lewisham the skills and resources they need to feed their families and their communities.
It will promote community cohesion as people come together with their neighbours in a spirit of mutual purpose and benefit.
It will utilise and improve 'dead spaces' around Lewisham, turning them into valuable community resources.
It will inspire other people to take similar action in their areas.
It will enable us to experiment and find ways to grow less traditional produce enjoyed by Lewisham's culturally diverse community, (yams, peppers, callaloo).
It will galvanise communities into an ongoing process of collaboration, participation and ownership of their own spaces.
Steps to get it done:
- Establishment of beds using different growing methods
- Establishing a 'nursery' of seedlings and 'ready to go' plants for potential new growing spaces
- Production of a resource pack for potential new growing groups
- Producing a 'presentation' for outreach and inviting interested groups to visit the site
- Linking our site to local community kitchens and food banks in order to supply fresh produce.
Food is a common denominator in everyone's lives. Food growing, sharing and the activities that surround this have the ability to connect people, groups and communities in a fundamental way. We are a diverse partnership and intend for The Plot to be a resource and place to grow for all sections of the community. We aim to work with people from all backgrounds and cultures.
The Plot is the hub for a wider network project which will connect all growers and community food projects for mutual support. Central to our vision is the desire to grow resilience and awareness around food and land, and mitigate the fact that those who have least will be the most aversely affected by changes in the climate. Resources at The Plot will be available to all at no cost.
We are well networked and have support from key partners across the Borough including Lewisham Council, Lewisham Local, Housing Associations, Mutual Aid group, Climate Action Lewisham and smaller community organisations.