A thousand sunflowers: a million smiles

Sunflowers for Change is back again for summer 2015!!

Throughout April and May we’ll be recruiting volunteers to be part of this impactful community project. Now’s your chance to be part of the change - help in transforming the urban New Cross environment by creating bountiful habitats to improve biodiversity and create habitat for bees and birds.

There are a wide variety of volunteer roles available to suit your schedule and interest. It’s a great opportunity to involve yourself with an innovative community project!

Be Part of the Movement!


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And join in at our planting events: when  we’ll be transplanting our baby sunflowers into their permanent homes. Wear casual, comfortable clothes (that you don’t mind getting dirty) and sturdy shoes. Tools and gloves will be provided.

June 24th, 7 – 8:30pm

Join us planting out a final batch of sunflowers to replace some of the damaged seedlings from our first round of planting. We’ll be starting at the Lewisham Way site and then covering a few others during the 1.5 hour time slot, so please arrive promptly at 7pm so you can stick with the team as they move from site to site.

Meet on the corner of Lewisham Way and St Donats Road (just opposite the Old Haberdasher pub.

June 27th, 2 – 4pm

Join us planting out a final batch of sunflowers to replace some of the damaged seedlings from our first round of planting. We’ll be starting at the bus stop site, in front of the Lewisham homes flats and then covering a few others during the 2 hour time slot, so please arrive promptly at 2pm so you can stick with the team as they move from site to site.

Meet at the site planted behind the bus stop, near # 221 New Cross Road, in the front grounds of the Lewisham Homes flats, directly behind bus stop H.

Or collect seeds to sow yourself: pick some up from New Cross Learning, 283 New Cross Road or from Goldsmiths Student Union reception.

Did you like the sunflowers? Please share your feedback…

The sunflower season for 2014 has now come full circle!


We recently completed the final stage of the project to harvest and distribute the seeds, clear the ground and sow new seeds.

This year we planted a massive 1,300 sunflowers along the A2 – one of the most polluted roads in the UK. Planting took place on 13 sites including areas owned by Goldsmiths College and Sainsbury’s as well as high street shops and cafes, front gardens of housing blocks and outside the Post Office. Approximately 70 volunteers got involved at sowing and planting events and we created a dedicated team of 6 regular watering volunteers.

sunflower bees Batavia RdIn 2015 we’re hoping to continue the project and scale it up to cover a wider area and involve more of the community, so we now need your help to build a case for support!

Did you like the sunflowers?
Want to see them again next year?
Please take a minute to give us feedback!


Tasty Tuesday cooking sessions are back!

We have a new cohort of volunteers to bring take these community cooking sessions into the future….hooray! Welcome to the autumn season…

Cook together, then sit and eat with new friends!

Recommencing on 7th of October, the Tasty Tuesday sessions will be happening on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month!

Join in from 6:30 – 9pm to cook tasty treats together then sit down with everyone to enjoy a freshly prepared evening meal. Make new friends, learn and share new recipes. Cooking together has proved to be a wonderful community activity, come along and be inspired.

£2.50 contribution is required to cover the costs of ingredients. Sessions are held at 178 Cafe on New Cross Road, SE14 5AA.

Please bring your own apron and teatowel, plus tuppaware for any leftovers.

Hope you can join us! Just come along on the night, or email tastytuesdaySE14(at)gmail.com if you have any questions.

Somerville Playground’s garden transformation

We’re excited to announce a new Grow Wild short-term project, supported by London’s Capital Clean Up campaign!

As part of the redevelopment at Somerville Adventure Playground, we’ll be helping transform part of the playgrounds garden to make way for the new building and to add new fruit trees, herbs and wildlife areas.

Join in and help us bring new life to unused areas of the playground!

We need all hands on deck for a concentrated effort split over 3 afternoons.

The sessions will be held:
Wednesday 10th September 4-7pm
Thursday 11th September 4-7pm
Friday 12th September 4-7pm

Snacks and refreshments will be provided for all helpers!

2013-10-12 12.28.21

Whether it’s for just one, or all 3 sessions, your help would be greatly appreciated! So if you’re available to come along please confirm via this Facebook event listing, or by emailing us at ella.growwild@gmail.com.

We need to know expected numbers in order to plan catering and activities appropriately.

2013-07-30 14.13.20

Somerville Adventure Playground, Queens Road SE14 5HD

The Return of the Sunflowers!

We’re delighted to announce the return of the sunflowers to New Cross in 2014!!

A couple of location changes and more planting activities added! The Sunflowers NEED YOU! Here’s when you can help out…

New Dates:

Wednesday 28th May 1:30-3:30pm
At Green Shoots Community Garden. We’ll be sowing sunflowers in pots, so that they can be nurtured and planted out in the near future.

Wednesday 28th May 4-6pm
At various sites along Lewisham Way and New Cross Road. Between 4pm and 5pm come and sow with us outside the Goldsmiths library on Lewisham Way.
We’ll then be moving to sow seeds outside the Post Office: 199-205 New Cross Road, SE14 5DH) at 5pm.

Saturday 31st May 2-4pm
Meet at the Sainsbury’s site, beside the petrol station, New Cross Road, SE14 5UQ.

We recently secured funding from Goldsmiths to plant more beautiful sunflowers around New Cross this summer. Help us create much needed forage for bees and bring colour & life to the high street!

We can’t do it without you, so please support this project by joining us for the first series of community planting sessions over the next couple of weeks.

More project news will be coming very soon… so please follow us on Facebook to keep in touch!

A feast for the bees

A feast for the bees

Cooking Continues into the Summer

Marmalade Mondays back at the Hill Station from May 19 2014

Back at the Hill Station from a slightly earlier time…11am to 1pm.  come and join this friendly group in cooking together then sit down and eat the  meal you have all prepared. Now with an additional focus of discussion on a new well being or health topic each week.

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Throughout Spring 2014 – Community Cooking at 178  

Tasty Tuesday Continues at Cafe 178 New Cross Road  All are welcome 6pm – 9.00pm

Click on the Tasty Tuesday page found under Projects then Cooking in the menu above for update info on what is cooking each week!

Ingredients sourced as locally as possible

Ingredients sourced as locally as possible

Pie Night at Tasty Tuesday....!

Pie Night at Tasty Tuesday….!

As we now have enough folks coming on a Tuesday evening this evening cooking session will continue through April with Dagmar and Angela, Grow Wild’s fabulous volunteers, facilitating the evening.  If there are enough regular participants the evening can be sustained with participants bringing ingredients and recipes.

Cook together, then sit and eat with new friends!

Cook together, then sit and eat with new friends!

Working things out together, learning new skills!

Working things out together, learning new skills!

Eating together is always a highlight of Tasty Tuesdays

Eating together is always a highlight of Tasty Tuesdays

If you would like to join this community cooking event please just come along, although it will be the first 12 who come who can cook, as the kitchen and cafe are unable to accommodate more than this cooking together!  At each Tuesday the recipes for the following week will be decided so if you would like to lead a recipe come along and have your say!

Bring an apron, a tea towel and a container to take home left-overs, plus 2.50p to contribute to the cost of ingredients…..Hope to see you there!

Come and Cook with Grow Wild this Year!

From January our cooking sessions took on a seasonal flavour!2014-01-20 12.33.55

2014 is well underway and we have started our cooking workshops in 2 community kitchens in New Cross and Telegraph Hill.

Our sessions are still free and we have a daytime and an evening slot during the week and are working on developing a regular weekend session too for the spring months…..

Marmalade Mondays are back at the Hill Station during the day – Noon til 3.30pm

Tasty Tuesdays are in the evening at Cafe 178, New Cross Road –  6.30 til 9.30pm

These sessions are well established now and very enjoyable, a way to meet local people, find new recipes, learn about seasonal food, cook together, learn from one another, have a laugh and sit and eat a meal together, come and join us one day perhaps you could lead a recipe?

2014-02-03 14.27.04It is of great help to have on board new volunteers whom have joined the Grow Wild team. They have become indispensable in helping to run the cooking sessions, so expect some different faces leading the cooking and generally helping out!

If you would like to volunteer too then get in touch via this website or email: growwildlondon@gmail.com

The Pick and Preserve story

2013-09-17 15.09.47Our Pick and Preserve project started in July this year, when Penny (the Peckham Pickler), joined the Grow Wild team. The project aimed to bring people together to harvest and preserve the seasonal glut of fruit in local public spaces and private gardens and put it to good use!

Throughout the summer and into the autumn Penny led walks and workshops for the Grow Wild community, making use of local green spaces and community kitchens to demonstrate how local crops can be turned into delicious cupboard-keepers for long term storage. meeting tuesday 010


Participants were able to try their hands at a few old-style preserving techniques such as jams, fruit spreads, jellies, pickles, chutneys, cordials, fruit bottling and pasteurisation and preparing fresh food for freezing, storing and drying.


Here is the story from our first season of the Pick and Preserve project:

wineberry blackberryThough the Pick and Preserve project only began in late July, there was still plenty of New Cross local goodies around us to work with…one of our first forays brought mulberry, blackberry and currants to the community kitchen, where we made syrup and jelly. The syrup was enjoyed by everyone frozen into ice creams, granitas, sorbets and lollies for the kids.

on the way home.P&P tip: This syrup makes a great thirst quenching drink on hot summer days.You can also freeze the syrup into ice cubes and then add them to other drinks for lovely berry hit! Or freeze berries whole into ice cube trays for a particularly attractive addition to summer drinks.

Still enjoying the black berry groove, 2013-10-26 11.54.28editedwe came across crops of Mulberry, Blackcurrant, Blackberry, Mahonia and Aronia berries, which we used to make more jams, jellies and syrups to store away – there’s nothing like the taste of last summer on your toast on winter mornings.

2013-10-14 14.26.55Spotting a great many fruiting trees in private gardens around telegraph hill, we began leaflet drops up and down the hill offering to help with harvests using our equipment in exchange for a share of the crop and a place on a preserving workshop or a sample of the resulting preserve. The fabulous people of Telegraph Hill did not let us down, donating their spare trees and surplus fruit generously. 2013-09-06 17.30.22

They welcomed us into gardens up and down the hill to harvest in small groups the seasonal fruits for the next Grow Wild cooking or preserving workshop enabling it to be shared with the wider community and new generation of skilled preservers trained up!

We were out and about cooking all over New Cross, from our local harvests came:

  • A Figgy Mostardo at Frendsbury Gardens
  • Apple and Rhubarb chutney at the Hill Station cafe
  • Grape molasses at the Fordham Park – Party in the Park eventKING OF THE APPLES.
  • Elderberry Pontack sauce with the kids at Somerville Adventure Playground
  • Jam, jelly and fruit cheeses at St James Community kitchen
  • And a dehydrating workshop provided enough fruit pulps to make a dozen rolls of fruit leathers.rosey hips


We estimated our total harvest between August and November was approximately 300 kg of fruit!

Including: figs, various apples including John Downey crab apples, pears, quinces, grapes, Japanese rosehips, Oregon grape, Mirabelle plum, cobnuts, chestnuts, persimmon and a handful of damsons (bad plum year).

At times we had more fruit than we were able to process, so we often shared harvested produce with local food banks and via ‘help yourself bins’ we set up at community cafes to ensure the fruit wasn’t wasted and could be appreciated by all in the community.

As part of the project is about mapping trees and bushes, please share your knowledge of wild foodstuffs growing in and around Lewisham on the google map. Anyone can collaborate, just follow the link and sign in to Google – but please respect the advice on editing.

View Food Foraging around Lewisham in a larger map

Another Marmalade Monday for New Cross, 7pm at 178 Cafe New Cross Road

Have you heard about our Marmalade Mondays?

Making pasta together

Making pasta together


A very friendly atmosphere

We haven’t made marmalade yet but  these informal community cooking sessions have grown to quite a large group.  Between 10 and 20 local folk turn up every Monday to prepare and cook a variety of different foods.

Each week we have different food focus with participants choosing what to cook and deciding who will lead the recipes for the following week.

Rolling pastry lids for a pie of your choice.  We took them home to cook.

Rolling pastry lids for a pie of your choice. We took them home to cook.

So far The Hill Station Cafe has hosted the popular activity, but due to poular demand we are starting another session down the hill on New Cross Road.

If you fancy a jolly evening of practical hands on cooking with your neighbors and friends from the local area Come and join us at 178 New Cross Road, a few doors down from The White Hart Hotel and across the road from the Post Office


Starting this Monday 18th November 7pm to 9.30pm, 178 New Cross Road SE14 

Come and join our Chop and Chat sessions starting Monday 11th November

In partnership with JOY, Chop and Chat is starting during the day on Mondays at the newly opened Café 178 situated at 178 New Cross Road, across the road from the New Cross Gate Post Office, a few doors down from the White Hart Hotel.

Roasted vegetables chopped for a warm salad

Roasted vegetables chopped for a warm salad

Chopping together makes light work

Chopping together makes light work

We will meet at the café between noon and 12.30, have a cup of tea and discuss the days cooking, don our aprons and begin to chop the ingredients for the pot.

It is such a lovely social activity all sitting and chopping together and many hands do really make light work, salads, soups curries and pizza ingredients are all prepared in no time!

All hands help to chop then we get cooking together.  The atmosphere is informal each doing as much as they feel able.  There is always someone willing to stir or fry or check the oven and of course with so many helping hands whilst we chat, even makes the washing up a pleasure.

We usually have a couple of people leading the week’s recipes and keeping an eye on the time, and as participants get more confident we take turns in sharing our cooking knowledge

Our first Chop and Chat is this coming Monday 11 November and we plan to make fresh bread rolls, soup and chutney.  We will make enough for all to sit and eat bread, soup, chutney and cheese all together in the café, with a little pot of chutney to take home.

Everyone is welcome to our informal community cooking, the sessions are free and there is often a sample of the days produce for each participant to take home.

Bring an apron if you have one but don’t worry we have a supply to share and come on in to 178 New Cross Road at noon on Mondays until December 16th.  Hope to see you there!