The Community Brain would like to launch a suburban farming project to ensure that any new ‘public space’ has potential to generate food for the local area. We have recently taken over the abandoned Tolworth Allotments Society building and surroundings with the aim of introducing the community to suburban farming possibilities, teaching food growing, and building productive, sustainable sources of locally produced food. We want to inspire communities to feel proud of where they live and actively engage with it. Tolworth, in the Royal Borough of Kingston, faces a period of significant regeneration. Crossrail, major planning applications and ambitions for the A3 are bringing a new focus on this previously overlooked part of the borough. The appointment of architects and urban designers to deliver a master plan for the area will open even more opportunities for development. Community interest company, The Community Brain, wants the community and not just developers to feel the benefits
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
Along with 'feeling safe' and 'people', our annual community surveys reveal that what matters most to community is ‘feeling included’ ‘community events’ and ‘public spaces’. We hear how people want ‘spaces to breathe’, for ‘public land and spaces to be kept public, and better preserved’. And they reveal concern about traffic levels, congestion and pollution in Tolworth, We know that locally produced food, independent business and nurturing talent are key drivers of people's sense of a community where hospitality and communal eating play a significant part in its character. The Suburban Farming project brings all this enthusiasm and insight together. It’s about productively greening the area, giving it a real positive local narrative that not only picks up on a half-remembered past but also projects it into an exciting and optimistic future, making every space a potential resource, however small, public or private. Not only for now, but for future generations. Let's 'Grow for Good'
Steps to get it done:
The little-known but fascinating, rural, history of Tolworth belies its current, poor quality and neglected suburban feel. Tolworth Court Farm, for example, has medieval origins and is still visible in the area. But we don't just want to develop a suburban farm along traditional lines, we want to move towards establishing an aquaponics centre to further promote food production and reduce food footprint. We’ve already had fruitful conversations with the council and a number of interested parties in the area, including the allotment society and local beekeepers, who are excited about the prospect of such innovative approaches and want to offer support, and share their skills and passions. Local schools are also keen to be involved. We will link all this to the Community Kitchen we launched in 2016 at the Museum of Futures in Surbiton, to provide the community with opportunities to learn and develop through workshops, demonstrations, advice sessions and research.
About the space
The former Tolworth District Allotments Society Shed on the Alexandra site
Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames
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