This afternoon we visited Loughborough Farm, a communal growing space in South London.
We were greeted by Anthea, chair of the Loughborough Junction Action Group, and the team of volunteer growers. Spoilt with their hospitality, we tucked into tea and cake while Anthea introduced us to the farm and it’s history.
The project launched in August 2013 with the aim to grow food and connect the community. It began as a temporary adoption of a derelict site, and has grown from strength to strength with a dedicated group of volunteers. Happily, the site is now permanent!
As well as growing fruit and veg, the group sells their produce, runs a cafe, organises community events, and runs workshops in DIY, cooking, arts and crafts etc. Participants enthusiastically told us about their skills acquired and friendships made since they began visiting the farm. It is apparent that this project is wellbeing boosting.
“Not only do we grow plants, we grow people” – Anthea, chair of LJAC
The farm itself is very welcoming, a pocket of green within a high-rise setting. Every corner is utilised for different stages of food production process, and the organised jumble displays the organic growth of the project. Food is grown in large builder bags for two reasons: to be portable (as the location was originally greed on temporary condition) and to avoid possible contamination in the soil. At the centre of the farm is the Plant Room which works as a greenhouse, meeting space, and rainwater collector. In true community spirit, the structure was designed by volunteer and trainee architect, Tom Dobson, and built by the DIY team.
We were then invited to a gig at the back of the site at the farms newly constructed ‘pyramid stage’. Bliss!
Fed and entertained, we set to work to gain a better understanding of life in this community. We turned soil, planted winter lettuces, harvested coriander seeds and added vegetation to the compost. Everybody was generous in explaining how to approach our tasks, and it was very enjoyable to learn these new skills.
Thank you for welcoming us to the farm, we are looking forward to working with you!
The food stall at the entrance of the farm. Local produce for local consumption.
Introduction to the project (with tea and cake!)
Breaking down some vegetation to add to the compost.
Planting the winter lettuces.