Community garden sows seeds of change in Lewisham

A community garden network is not beating around the bush when it comes to helping others.

Grow Lewisham have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for their community garden project – which aims to give fresh fruit and vegetables to food banks and charities.

The organisation opened their first garden in Downham this year, called “The Plot”, where they are growing culturally diverse herbs, fruits and vegetables.

Grow Lewisham also hopes to train and inspire others to start their own gardens, and champion sustainable ways of growing food.

The community garden will grow culturally diverse produce such as Scotch Bonnets (pictured)

Bradley Pritchard, a member of Grow Lewisham, said: “From converting unused spaces into food-growing hubs to running workshops on how to grow a diverse range of foods, Grow Lewisham seeks to address many of the inequalities we face in our own communities, for example around access, distribution, and provision. 

“As it is a grassroots organisation, its purpose will constantly evolve to meet the needs of Lewisham residents – you could say it’s as organic as the food we grow.”

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. 

Grow Lewisham – which includes members of Coco Collective, Grow Wild New Cross, and Lee Fair Share Time Bank – said its project is a response to food poverty, as well as the likelihood of future food shortages arising from pandemics, Brexit and climate change. 

They are also hoping to encourage people from BAME backgrounds to get involved in growing their own food.

Valerie Goode, founder of sustainable fashion network Coco Collective, said: “Coco Collective is partnering with Grow Lewisham to bring the BAME community to community gardens. 

“These are spaces we’re not typically occupying, and that is partly by default of the types of foods that are typically grown in community garden spaces, and the fact that they are usually occupied by white middle class people. 

“We want to shake that up, disrupt the whole perception of community garden spaces and create something that is not only inclusive but also hopefully a little bit more colourful and energised and soulful.”

Goode added: “Coco Collective will be focusing on growing Afro-Caribbean foods, which will be largely experimental. To get the younger generation involved I see us having a little bit of music, and some events and activities going on that can be directed by the young people.” 

Grow Lewisham is hoping to raise £4,500 for the project by 11 May 2021.

To donate please visit: https://www.spacehive.com/grow-lewisham

Pictured top: Bradley Pritchard in the community garden


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