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A NEW GARDEN ADVENTURE

Volunteers are working on a project to combine a lively Stockwell adventure playground with new growing spaces.

Local social enterprise Urban Growth are working with the community in Slade Gardens to add a community food-growing space INSIDE the hugely popular Adventure Playground.

Welcome space

Robin Langton of Slade Gardens says: “The Urban Growth planting replaces old allotments. The raised beds are a far more efficient growing space, but it’s still within our busy adventure playground. We’ve always encouraged young people to treat the adventure playground as their own space. But there’s evidence that working with plants, seeing them grow in an outdoor environment, helps young people’s self-respect and self-confidence – this aims to invite them in to get involved’

Creating the garden

Orsetta Hosquet, Urban Growth project manager, explains plans for the garden: “The refurbishment includes new raised beds, installing a Polytunnel, creating a pond for wildlife, fixing existing fences, new compost bins and more. It’s a unique opportunity to integrate food growing and wildlife with a thriving adventure playground – it’s in between lots of high rise homes, new and old, surrounded by A-roads. Getting out in the fresh air, bringing the community together and teaching kids where food comes from are all great reasons to do something.”

Continuing growth

For Robin, it’s part of a long- term plan for Slade Gardens: “We’ve been offered fruit trees for a new mini-orchard. We already have an autistic children’s group and we plan to invite local schools to include growing food as part of their curriculum. The big picture includes a grass-roofed community centre and a commercial café featuring the vegetables grown here.”

Working together

“We hope to have users from all over the local area working together to create beautiful, wild, productive areas where all ages can relax, learn, interact, grow, and eat food grown on site. One neighbour is designing a gate at the Chelsea Flower show, so there’s already a bed dedicated to bee-friendly planting.”

Networking

Orsetta says: “The new garden will be part of a bigger network of sustainable growth. It will act as a mini nursery for Urban Growth’s projects around the borough, reducing our reliance on plants shipped in from outside M25 – with corresponding reduced environmental impact.”

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