Vine Road Community Growing Project grows and grows and grows!
30 December 2022
Author: Barnes Common
As we came out of the Covid lockdowns in the Autumn of 2021 our volunteers Rashadee Miller and Claire van Rhyn agreed to take on the leadership of the Vine Road Community Growing Project.
When we were unable to grow together, families and individuals in the community ‘adopted’ the growing beds and planters and kept the project going. Just over a year later the project has re-established itself as a community food growing project and has certainly undergone quite a transformation. It is now supported by a team of over 20 regular volunteers, as well as working with local groups; The Mortlake Powerstation Youth Centre, the Eco Team from Barnes Primary School, Barnes Community Gardeners, Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteers and many more.
Established in 2016, this project is now volunteer led (supported by Barnes Common, formerly Friends of Barnes Common – FoBC). The project aims to encourage people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to grow food together, at the same time, inspiring engagement, participation and ownership by the whole community and in turn, helping to reduce social isolation, build wellbeing and strengthen community cohesion and resilience.
Using growing methods that are organic and regenerative, cultivating soil health and encouraging biodiversity, last year, we successfully started all but a few of our crops from seed. In the fenced, raised bed area – referred to as The Encampment – there has been an impressive range of shared crops grown including broad and French beans, sweet corn, potatoes/sweet potatoes, fennel, turnips, strawberries, garlic, okra, squash, tomatoes, peppers, chillies, aubergines, tomatillos, cucumbers, chard, amaranth, quinoa, Jerusalem artichoke and carrots while the brassica crops are well underway for winter and early spring harvests. We also made a particular effort this past season to interplant both wild and cultivated flowers to support pollinators and establish a better growing ecosystem. The flowers have delighted visitors and passers-by alike and we even won an award at the Twickenham Beekeeper’s annual show.
We have also started two new key projects. The first of these has been establishing regular food box deliveries via the Richmond Foodbank Network at Castlenau Community Centre, where we successfully managed to provide 15 weekly deliveries of fresh, organic produce that benefitted many local families in need. We are now making plans to scale this support in 2023 and hope to build closer ties between the Growing Project and the families the network serves.
Our second project has been to engage with the International Seed Sovereignty campaign and establish seed saving as part of our annual seasonal tasks. Besides becoming more self-sufficient in seeds for the next season’s main crops, e.g., tomatoes, we have also been able to contribute seeds of five locally adapted varieties to the London Freedom Seed Bank to share with other community groups.
We are active throughout the year and in all weathers! There is always a range of tasks for all levels of skill and energy with support on hand to help participants along. Currently, we run weekly open sessions on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays but please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to know more!
Up to: Partner blog 2022
Updated: 30 December 2022