East London Green Grid: Supporting community food growing in East London

This report from Capital Growth reflects on how community food growing and horticultural enterprises can support the aims of the East London Green Grid - a major regeneration and development programme working to transform East London over the coming 20 to 30 years.


East London Green Grid: Supporting community food growing in East LondonThis report from Capital Growth reflects on how community food growing and horticultural enterprises can support the aims of the East London Green Grid - a major regeneration and development programme working to transform East London over the coming 20 to 30 years.

East London will be a major focus for regeneration and development over the coming decades, accommodating additional new homes and jobs. East London Green Grid is a major planning and regeneration initiative supported by the Greater London Auhority and the Mayor of London, whose aim is to create "a network of interlinked, multi-functional and high quality open spaces that connect with town centres, public transport nodes, the countryside in the urban fringe, the Thames and major employment and residential areas".

Sustain's Capital Growth project - also supported by the Greater London Authority and the Mayor of London - is the campaign to create 2,012 new community food growing spaces in London. Capital Growth's East London Green Grid report reflects on how community food growing can support the aims of the East London Green Grid. For example, Capital Growth helps to strengthen local communities’ image and identity, helps London adapt to climate change and promotes access to high-quality green open space. The prospect of working directly with the East London Green Grid excited us because of the potential to create more productive landscapes across the Grid.

During 2009 and 2010, Capital Growth ran inititiaves to help stimulate community food growing in East London and to demonstrate the important role this can play in regeneration, high-quality green space, community cohesion and sustainable jobs. Our interest was to create productive green space, and also to support community groups looking at ways to make their projects more economically viable. We therefore ran:

  • a small grants programme, providing revenue funding of around £1,000 per community food growing space, to enable new community growing sites in East London to receive training to help develop sustainable projects
  • a larger grants programme, providing revenue funding of around £4,000 per community food growing space to enable, for example, business planning and training for large growing sites with the long-term aim to bring more local and sustainably produced fresh food to the market in East London.

The report provides case studies and commentary on the very promising community food growing spaces and horticultural enterprises that were supported through this process. The larger grant initiative included grants and other support for several inspiring enterprises, including the Wenlock Herb Garden, the London Honey Company, the London Orchard Project, Sydenham Market Garden, Blackhorse Action Group Market Garden, Central Park Nursery Project in Dagenham, Thamesmead City Farm and OrganicLea Hawkwood Nursery in Walthamstow. A number of community food growing activities by community projects are also described, growing fodo in a varied range of settings from the Dalston Roof Park to the Forest Farm Peace Garden in Hainault, Redbridge.

The East London Green Grid initiative has reinforced our belief in the huge potential for London to grow more of its own food, and for the income generated to provide a sustainable way of managing these spaces and providing employment. Currently this potential is largely untapped, and there is need for continued financial support for groups to implement their plans to create food growing social enterprises. The East London Green
Grid initiative has provided a number of useful models that new start-ups could use to plan for success.

Capital Growth's East London Green Grid project was funded by the London Development Agency


Report contents

1. Introduction

2. Process

  • 2.1 Identify groups to apply for large grants
  • 2.2 Identify groups to apply for small grants
  • 2.3 Allocation of grants3

3. Results

  • 3.1 Project Profiles
    • 3.1.1 Large Grants
    • 3.1.2 Small Grants
  • 3.2 Event

4. Conclusions

5. Appendices

  • 5.1 List of projects that applied
  • 5.2 Evaluation criteria
    • 5.2.1 Essential criteria
    • 5.2.2 Other criteria
  • 5.3 List of funded projects
  • 5.4 Map

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05/06/2010
Capital Growth

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