“If we’ve learnt anything over recent months, it’s how important green spaces are when most of us live in flats. Green spaces enhance our health, well-being, and life chances and over time we have found that people with mental health or physical challenges thrive in this environment. In Lambeth, fifth most densely populated local authority in England and Wales, exposure to nature for most is rare.
First time experiences
“I’ve run Vauxhall City Farm for almost two years with a brilliant team of staff and volunteers from local communities. Last year, over 300,000 visitors came, many from inner city schools around us. It’s my personal delight to share with these kids the first time they touch and smell a farm animal – horses, chickens, goats – and pick and taste fresh vegetables and fruit. But we don’t just open the farm, we run a wide range of educational, recreational, and therapeutic support programmes and activities for young people and adults.
Community garden plans
“Attached to Vauxhall City Farm was an area less than a quarter the size of the farmland with old allotments, closed to the public, derelict, unused, and covered with invasive weeds. Fewer than ten people gardened the plots. My vision was to turn a loving hand to this wasteland and open it to the public as a Community Garden so many more people would benefit.
“Now my dream is coming true; work is under way to create a communal green haven, growing vegetables, soft fruit, herbs, and flowers. for people of all generations and backgrounds. The obvious benefits are education – understanding food production, environmental impact, exercise and wellbeing; as well as bringing people together to share and learn skills. The garden has wide community support and we’re inviting allotment users to share their kitchen garden skills. We hope to sell produce in our on-site café to help with the running costs, making the project more sustainable, and to support more community activities like social groups and training opportunities.”