London Grown is a food growing and education organisation based on a seven-acre woodland site in London. Within the context of widening social inequalities, austerity cuts and loss of community, it works with young people and adults around four key aims:
1. Education: valuing all knowledge and ways of learning in facilitating food, gardening and play;
2. Community space: collaborating with residents and partners to enable creative activities and mutually-supportive relationships;
3. Natural food production: non-pesticide growing to produce affordable fresh foods;
4. Sustainable livelihoods: creating equitable job opportunities for economic resilience, with workers’ voices shaping the organisation.
In 2016, London Grown took over a site that had been derelict for 20 years. It has since facilitated a ‘Community Conversations’ process with local community groups to shape the project and has worked with over 300 young-people and adults to clear three acres of overgrowth, install water, build an eco-toilet and set up a one-acre garden. It runs twice weekly ‘seed to plate’ gardening volunteer sessions, nature-play sessions, a community market and a horticultural traineeship.