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. There’s a community playground with a café and toilets on site. There is space for a food growing project with raised beds that can be planted. After a piece of gluten-free carrot cake and a cup of tea, it was time to start the walk.

Pop Farm Brixton

From Papa’s Park we walked to 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, courses and classes are offered to make gardening accessible to all.

Brixton Orchard

After Pop Farm, we walked round to an open space where Brixton Orchard is located. This was created by Urban Growth. There are 35 fruit trees on the site, including apple and cherry trees, many of which are classic or heritage varieties. We could see how delicate and 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, I discovered a windmill. I had no idea that there was a working windmill in Brixton. The fact that there is a Windmill Gardens in Brixton was a clue!  Brixton Windmill is looked after by the Friends of the Park. It was built about 200 years ago. However, due to a lack of wind, it was first converted into a steam-powered windmill, and today it’s powered by electricity.

It was built about 200 years ago. However, due to a lack of wind, it was first converted into a steam-powered windmill, and today it’s powered by electricity.

National Mill Day is the second Sunday in 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 the Blenheim Estate Community Garden. I loved how the space was used to create an inviting community garden.

The community garden was well used. Careful thought had been given to how to use the space available to grow a lot of food. We were able to talk to one of the gardeners who admitted that having access to a growing space had led to the family eating more fresh salads and vegetables.

Harmony Garden

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

The final project was the Jubilee Primary School Garden.

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

Reflections

This guided walk included some of the projects on the two trails described on the food growing map. During the tour it was valuable to meet people directly involved in the gardens we visited. The passion and love that people have for their gardens was evident. It’s always a pleasure to come across these hidden gems.

Some of the projects include Edible Bus Stops, Loughborough Farm and Southwyck House Garden. I look forward to visiting and discovering these places.

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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