At the weekend, Father Nature headed down to Barrow Road in their trusty milk float ‘Miles’ to join local residents and members of BABRA (Barrow Road & Byron Close Residents Association) for a Planting party as the final step in transforming the Barrow Road site from a fly-tipping grot spot into a green oasis.
Greening the borough one street at a time…
Father Nature has been working closely over the past year with the local communities around Streatham to find tailored creative horticultural solutions to fly-tipping as well as other inner city problems like antisocial parking or driving. Funded by Lambeth Council through the ‘Our Streets’ initiative, Father Nature has now designed and built over 50 planters and pocket park sites, greening the borough one street at a time.
Crispin Swayne, Father Nature director, said: “Community engagement is central to our ethos. People really respond to having their needs heard at a local level and addressed in a genuinely collaborative way.
“Their local knowledge also means we get the project right and make the best use of public money. I think we’re living proof that the council really values the input of the public. Father Nature might be the bridge but the Lambeth Our Streets team have supported our work all the way. Lambeth also recognises that our planters are great for the environment and local air quality which is on every Londoner’s mind at the moment.”
Communal gardening intiatives
When they are not engaged on Lambeth greening projects, Father Nature is busy on communal gardening initiatives across the borough and beyond. They work with schools and children’s centres to create outdoor learning/play areas, community centres to build on site food growing hubs, as well as TRAs or private residents who want a garden makeover. As a social enterprise they plough back a share of their profits to facilitate fun nature based community events such as their giant haystack at this year’s Harvest Festival at the Brixton Windmill, and the Big Park Sleepover at Myatt’s Fields Park last year.
Crispin added: “Our aim is to connect people in inner cities with nature and growing, but primarily with each other. Feeling part of a community is food for the soul.
“I grew up gardening, and getting out in nature is one of the best and cheapest ways I know to get fit, clear your head and make friends. The GLA’s ‘Healthy Streets’ is what it’s all about for us right now.”