Get Growing in Streatham

By Zoe Robinson

It is no secret that Streatham is home to a plethora of excellent eateries, but we are also very fortunate to live in an area with many wonderful food growing projects. For any aspiring food growers out there, here’s our rundown of local community groups, resources and growing projects:

Capital Growth  is a London network that supports food growers, whether they garden at home, a local allotment or with a community group. Visit the website to book food growing training sessions and search by postcode or borough to see where you can get involved locally. Projects that are looking for volunteers include community spaces such as Streatham Common Community Garden (more info below) and school growing initiatives such as Granton Garden at Granton Primary. Capital Growth also runs events throughout the year and the website is as an essential online resource for any green-fingered Londoner!

Incredible Edible Lambeth is a charity which promotes and highlights events, local projects and resources for food growers, keen cooks and food businesses. The emphasis is on ensuring healthy, sustainable and locally produced food is available to everyone in Lambeth. Essentially it’s about enabling people to connect more with food in their local area, be that growing, buying, cooking or eating.

The charity has also partnered with Groundwork and Lambeth Council to launch Growing Lambeth, a two year community food growing programme. The project, funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation will see five new food growing ‘hubs’ established in Lambeth and training will be available to both new and established community groups in the borough. For more information, email [email protected] or read Wendy’s Growing Lambeth blog on the IEL site.

The Lambeth GP Food Co-op is a borough-wide initiative designed to establish and promote food growing in local GP surgeries. Patients from a number of local surgeries have helped to set up the courtyard growing space at Gracefield Gardens. Anyone local can get involved, and those who don’t have much food growing experience or access to their own growing space are particularly welcome.

The sessions at Gracefield Gardens, led by nurses who are trained gardeners, are every Tuesday from 10am until lunchtime. No booking required. During the winter months they also offer basic training food growing training.

For more information about the Lambeth GP Food Co-op at Gracefield Gardens or in other parts of the borough please email [email protected], get in touch with your Practice Manager or follow them on Twitter @GPFoodCoop

Streatham Common Community Garden, based at the top of the common beside the Rookery, is open for community gardening every Sunday 12-4pm. It is a wonderful space where anyone can go along and involved – experienced gardeners and keen amateurs welcome. Follow on Facebook  or sign up to their newsletter to receive regular updates on how you can help and to find out about their events. In addition to the Victorian Cooking Lesson they’re hosting on 8th June as part of the festival, forthcoming attractions include Open Gardens Sunday on 15th June with guided tours, music and poetry, and on 13th July they will be celebrating Streatham Festival with an urban-scale gardening event.

School projects
As well as the Granton Primary project mentioned above and those featured on the Capital Growth website, there are some other fantastic food growing projects going on in Streatham schools. Steve Higgins, the manager of the local Morrisons supermarket has been working with St Andrews by upcycling stocking pallets into planters in which the students will be learning to grow vegetables. Students at Sunnyhill Primary are learning to grow veg through gardening sessions at the school and visits to the Streatham Common Community Garden. Further north, at Hitherfield Primary, Trees for Cities are helping the school create an ‘Edible Playground’. The food growing acts as a learning resource for the children but is definitely intended to be full of fun too.

Active Streatham, a project funded by the Mayor’s Outer London Fund launched a variety of local gardening projects, all designed to get locals growing. For further information on all of the projects below, and to find out how to get involved, contact Streatham Action on [email protected].

  • The garden at Hillside Gardens Park is open two Saturdays per month for children to go along and learn more about food growing.
  • Growing projects and planters were set up on the Palace Road Estate and Wellfield Road, though these are open to residents only.
  • Planters at The Woodlawns Centre on Leigham Court Road were established for residents of the centre, though they may also be on the lookout for volunteers to help maintain them.
  • The new Streatham Library houses planters in the patio. They have been planted and will need ongoing maintenance.

Active Streatham were also able to support the school projects at Hitherfield and Sunnyhill schools, and funded the first fruit garden at Streatham Common Community Garden.