Brixton Food Growing Tour

Incredible Edible Lambeth

On a rainy Saturday morning, I travelled south from home to Brixton to join Incredible Edible Lambeth (IEL) on a walking tour covering some of the projects of the Brixton food growing map. There is something precious about discovering a new area of London (or indeed any place) through the food growing communities that are a part of it. It turns out that there is a working windmill in Brixton!

Papa’s Park Brixton

I met up with Sue and Victoria who were leading the walk at Papa’s Park. The site includes a community playground with a cafe and toilets on site. There is space for a food growing project with raised beds ready to plant up. After a piece of gluten free carrot cake and a cup of tea, it was time to set off on the walk.

Pop Farm Brixton

From Papa’s Park, we walked round to have a look at Pop Farm. Pop Farm is, ‘an urban farm, growing decorative plants and fresh herbs, vegetables and other ingredients for use by local people, food businesses and Pop Brixton’s community of caterers’.  In addition to the produce grown there are also courses and classes making gardening accessible to everyone.

Brixton Orchard

After Pop Farm, we walked round to an open space that is the site of Brixton Orchard. This was set up by Urban Growth. The site has 35 fruit trees including apple and cherry, many of which are classic or heritage varieties. We were able to see how delicate and how beautiful the fruit blossom was this year.

Beautiful Apple blossoms.

And plum and cherry blossom.

There is also mulberry.

Brixton Windmill

After visiting the orchard, the tour led me to discover a windmill. I had no idea that there was a working windmill in Brixton. However, the fact that there is a Windmill Gardens in Brixton was a clue!  Brixton Windmill is looked after by Friends of the Park. It was built about 200 years ago. However, due to a lack of wind, it was transformed firstly into a steam-powered windmill, and today it uses electricity.

National Mill Day is 12 May, and the Windmill will be open to visitors. Check the website for all the open days and tours.

Blenheim Estate Community Garden

The next community garden we visited was Blenheim Estate Community Garden. I loved the way space had been used to create an inviting community garden.

The community garden was well used. Careful thought had gone into how to use the available space to grow a lot of food. We were able to chat with one of the gardeners who acknowledged that having access to a food growing space had meant that the family ate more fresh salads and vegetables.

Harmony Garden

The next sites we visited were at and nearby to Harmony Garden.

The final project I had time to visit was the Jubilee Primary School Garden.

The trail continued on to Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses. However, after 2.5 hours of walking, I needed to leave and will come back to visit Brockwell Park on another day.

Reflections

This guided walk covered some of the projects on both of the trails detailed on the food growing map. During the tour, it was valuable to be able to meet people directly involved in the gardens that we were visiting. The passion and love that people have for the spaces shone through. And to come across these hidden gems is always a pleasure.

Some of the projects that could be visited include edible bus stops, Loughborough Farm and Southwyck House Garden. These places I am looking forward to visiting and discovering.

The next IEL guided walk is around Vauxhall on Sun 20 May 2018 from 2-4 pm. Check out the Incredible Edible Lambeth website for details.

 

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