Once again the Common Growth Gates were open all afternoon to welcome anyone to share this lovely space created by the local community. It was cold, but the sun glimmered a bit and the wind kept down. There were a few jobs planned, some members got to work laying the paving slabs for the new greenhouse, others moving soil that had been misplaced on the daffodil patch. New member Shirley was welcomed with the task of the puzzle of the Hexagon Herb Planter! And the creeping rose was treated to a pruning.
- Have we got enough sand?
- Spread the sand over the black material
- How level?
- Completed base! It was really fun work!
- Ingredients from local shops and market
- Carrot and ginger soup, extra warming with the ginger
- Welcome and tasty after hefting soil and pruning
- Grow Wild field kitchen
Meanwhile Louise from Grow Wild arrived with hot soup to serve from 2pm. Ingredients from the garden are a bit scarce now so the soup was made with vegetables from local Deptford Market and the Broca Food Shop situated opposite John Stainer Primary School. Warming carrot and ginger soup or smoked pumpkin and squash was on offer today. The sharing of soup during these cold winter days has become a welcome focus to the garden activity. Discussion abounds about, ingredients, methods of soup making, healthy eating and future planting for soup next year. Just what the aim of Souper Sunday was, to encourage the use and development of Common Growth. Plans are afoot to continue the greenhouse construction next weekend but alas Grow Wild is unavailable. On hearing this Common Growth member Carlos is considering making some soup to share instead! He has picked up some soup cooking tips from Louise so why not go along to support Common Growth and try out Carlos’s soup too, next Sunday 16th December. All are welcome to assist with the garden, or just come and enjoy the space and the company of others. Next Grow Wild Souper Sunday at Common Growth Sunday 30th December 2pm
Sun strove to shine and Common Growth members gathered for a very successful Souper Sunday. With the Common Growth gates, on Sandborne Road wide open, passer-bys wandered in, others came in response to flyers, some heard through the Brockley Blog, some just lived in the flats next door. Hot winter vegetable soup was served from 2pm, accompanied by home made rye bread made by a Common Growth member; delicious was the verdict and what a sociable way to encourage any one from the local community to use and enjoy the garden.
- It was great to see the garden full of people all chatting and working together
- Hot soup served from 2pm
- Winter jobs in the garden – preparing beds
- Winter planting – onions and garlic
- Garden members made bread and cake to share
- Chopping potatoes for the soup demonstration
- When to add the spices and how much salt do you use?
- Discussing the quantities of stock and when to add to the soup
Some visitors wanted to help garden before having soup, so planting onions and garlic began in the prepared raised beds. Some had come to see the soup making demonstration, to get ideas for tasty and healthy ways to enjoy more garden produce. We picked and added leeks, wild garlic, rosemary and thyme to our communal soup making pot. The soup making tip of the day was to hold off adding water until your base of onion, carrot and celery cooked in oil, along with spices and herbs had cooked through. The flavours are released into the hot oil. Then add your main vegetables, we added potatoes and leeks cut into small chunks. Thank you Sylvie! Steam these with the base ingredients, stirring and allowing flavours to infuse for 10-20 mins. Only add stock liquid once the flavours have had time to release in the oil. Then cook gently until the whole pot bubbles gently mashing the ingredients to create a thick soup. More stock liquid can be added for your desired consistency. And a good pinch of pepper and salt to taste. Next Souper Sunday at Common Growth is in 2 weeks time on Sunday 9 December
Meet you in the Hill Station at 11am Before he leaves to live in Brighton, Grow Wild asked Darren Flint to share his foraging knowledge with them. We met at the Hill Station Cafe, in between the two Telegraph Hill parks, then over a cup of tea, Darren opened our minds to world of free food pickings right on our doorstep. We found out that all manner of common plant life can be picked for eating. Well prepared, Darren showed us on his smart phone exactly where in Lewisham Rocket, Wild Garlic, berries and fungi can be found. He even gave us recipes for foraged feasts.
- An abundance of edibles outside Telegraph Hill Centre
- Collecting sloe berries
Just a stone’s throw away! Only 5 minutes walk from the cafe around the back of the Telegraph Hill Centre and into the top park we found at least a variety of different plants to taste and take home to use in cooking. We found Chickweed, Mallow and Clover all tasty in salads. Bramble leaves and Rose Hips for tea. Then down in the bottom park just by the skate park, we found a whole bush of Sloes. We had also been looking for a particular delicious fungi , called J which grows on old damp Elder trees. We were disappointed not to find it but the day was fresh and dry and the Elders we found were cultivated or young with no old branches.When will we forage again? As Darren pointed out Autumn and Winter are frugal times for foraging but there are still pickings to be had. The group who accompanied Darren, 2 foraging participants who had heard about the activity through Project Dirt, Ella the Grow Wild Growing Coordinator and Louise the Food Coordinator all learnt a great deal from Darren and are keen to forage regularly. Forage mapping On the back of this session Grow Wild intend to organise regular foraging expeditions. The plan is to map what and where various free food sources are growing in the SE14 & SE4 areas and to establish a foraging group that communicates their finds and meet to forage and cook together. Sharing foraging knowledge If you already are a forager in the area and would like to share your knowledge please get in touch with Louise or Ella at Grow Wild and look out for further foraging activity organised by Grow Wild in the near future….. Many thanks to Darren Flint from Common Growth who willingly gave his time and expertise with much enthusiasm and thought.
Grow Wild and Permaculture Kids Club enjoyed hosting a Halloween Fun day for families at Common Growth Community Garden on Sandbourne Road. Families enjoyed a range of activities for all ages responding to and celebrating the changes in Autumn including; a scavenger hunt, making art using things found in the garden, storytelling, putting the garden to bed for winter, singing.
Grow Wild led a cooking workshop of both pea and pumpkin soup with garlic croutons. Children collected herbs to add to the soup from the garden and were shown what ingredients went into the soup and how to chop up the vegetables. Grow Wild also led a planting workshop with garlic – looking at what family it comes from, how to plant and look after it – with each participant taking a planted garlic clove home – in theme with the new Food Mixer.
Last Sunday 9 September Grow Wild was officially launched to partner organisations. There was a great turnout with lots of local organisations there all keen to share ideas, offer help and support and network with one another. Thanks so much to all of you who came along and for your generous offers of help. We really appreciated it. For those who couldn’t make it there is another opportunity to come and say hello to the team this Saturday 15 September at the Telegraph Hill Come and Look community day. For more information go to: www.nxgtrust.org.uk/?p=382 and click on the link to a PDF containing all the information. The Grow Wild team will do its best to get round all the venues where activities are taking place so please do come and say hello. Notes from the launch The launch provided a great opportunity for the Grow Wild team to let others know about the project and to meet local organisations who came along. It was also an opportunity for those organisations to tell us about their work and ideas, share their experiences and look at ways we can pool resources and expertise and work together. Cooking in the community using field kitchens There was a chat about the beauty of field kitchens as they can be set up anywhere that has access to water and involve local people cooking local produce. They help demystify cooking by showing people what can be cooked with just a few ingredients. They are great too for providing an opportunity for people to get together, particularly on an inter-generational level. The emphasis is on interacting and having fun. Sarah Bishop from Let’s Get Cooking said their organisation had done a lot of work in schools but is now expanding into the community with field kitchens. She said: “it’s great because it makes everything look simple and achievable”. Field kitchens get away from lecturing people and finger wagging. They provide inspiration, knowledge and hands on involvement. Growing things in small spaces We talked about the importance of finding opportunities to grow things in small spaces, particularly on land at the edge of parks to make the barriers between parks and urban land less noticeable. We also discussed getting some cross over between allotment holders and projects in schools. Publicity We discussed the various ways Grow Wild can publicise events and activities and link up with local organisations. These will primarily be:
- placing articles in ‘The Mixer’ – a Bold Vision community publication whose next edition will be about food and growing
- through the Grow Wild facebook page, Twitter, leaflets and posters
- through the press (South London Press and other local publications such as the New Shopper)
- putting information into school bags
- attending local assemblies and ward meetings
- distributing information to local organisations to put on their noticeboards and in their newsletters – Transition New Cross for example has a big mailing list and can distribute information from us to members.
Extra effort will be needed to get information to groups of people such as the elderly and newly arrived immigrants. Grow Wild will get to know who is working with different groups so that we can link in with them and take part in ongoing initiatives such as the Big Lunch. Alex, from Vitality TV, said he could come and film people taking part in projects and events and put it on their website, which allows free access. We also need to link in with local ward priorities – more info on Lewisham Council website. Mapping the area The Grow Wild team will spend the next few weeks mapping the local area to plot the location of existing and potential growing areas, identify local organisations that work in the area and local events that are taking place that we can get involved with. The local area or community was defined as all businesses, schools, clubs, health centres and groups in the SE14/SE4 area. Lewisham NHS Livia Lacamera, the public health dietician from Lewisham NHS South East London highlighted healthy eating resources available from the team and training which the Grow Wild team and volunteers can take advantage of. RSA survey Gaia Marcus, from the RSA (Royal Society of Arts, Commerce and Industry) told us about a four year project they have been involved in which has entailed surveying levels of wellbeing in the area. They have just completed an analysis of 400 people and can use this data to help Grow Wild leverage local projects and access funding. The focus of their research has been on reducing isolation and giving people a chance to get involved locally. Somerville playground Representatives from Somerville told us that they have developed a garden which now needs planting up. The Grow Wild team will be following this up with them in the near future. Transition New Cross Carlo from Transition New Cross kindly offered to organise social media for Grow Wild and has in fact already set up the new Grow Wild facebook page. He also said he could distribute information for the team through their database of members. Spice Time Joan Roach came along from Spice Time to tell us all about the Lewisham time credit scheme which sounds fascinating. The Grow Wild team will definitely be following this up to find out more and to see how we can use this scheme with our work. If you want any more information about the launch or Grow Wild please drop me a line at [email protected] Claire Hallam Grow Wild project manager
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