As with many inner London housing estates, there is limited green space available on Ethelburga Estate. However, what does exist holds significant potential. Beside the LCP there is a large paved area that is the perfect location for raised beds for food growing. CL, in partnership with LCP, would like to develop this site into a community kitchen garden where we will engage and serve the community in a variety of ways:
*Employment: A local young person will be hired as an apprentice to manage the garden
*Fresh, local produce:
-Produce grown in the garden will be for healthy cooking and eating projects
-Chefs using the LCP kitchen will be able to purchase the garden’s produce. All income will be returned to fund the project.
-Low-cost produce will also be made available to local residents,
* Weekly volunteer opportunities and free training sessions will be offered to local residents
We are awaiting a lease but should have this by July.
What we'll deliver:
- Build raised beds outside of the LCP
- Convert the existing green space next to the LCP into a community orchard (contingent on council permission)
- Hire a local young person as an apprentice to manage the garden
- Run weekly community volunteer days at the garden
- Run free monthly gardening workshops for local residents
Why it's a great idea:
Community-based food growing projects have been shown to have a significant positive effect on health and well-being for a range of individuals. For example, Food Growing Schools (2014) reports that participation in food-growing activities improves physical and mental health through increased exercise and time spent outside, social bond formation and increased sense of purposefulness.
Community gardens can also greatly increase community cohesion and help develop a richer community, bringing people from different generations and backgrounds together.
The community at large will also benefit from an improved local environment and improved access to local produce; A currently uninspiring patch of grass will be turned into a vibrant, biodiverse garden for everyone to enjoy.
Community members will have the opportunity to gain new skills and knowledge related to both food growing and cooking. These are important life skills that lend themselves to improved well-being in the long-term.
Steps to get it done:
- Local apprentice hired - Autumn 2017
- Garden built by CL team (with local volunteers) - Autumn 2017
- Community engaged in weekly volunteering sessions and monthly training sessions - Autumn 2017 - Autumn 2019
- "Grand opening" community day/project launch held, spring 2017
- Community "harvest festival" held September 2018 and September 2019
- Apprentice to complete a level 2 Diploma in horticulture - Autumn 2019
Situated in the middle of the Ethelburga Estate in Battersa, the London Cooking Project (LCP) (www.londoncookingproject.com), is a social enterprise community kitchen that works to provide opportunities to develop and nurture young talent in the culinary field, and runs community based food projects focused on healthy eating and cooking skills.