Much of the food we eat in the UK is imported, and even the food produced here is reliant on fossil fuels such as oil both in growing methods (fertilisers, tractors) and in transportation. In London this is a particular problem, as little of our food is grown locally. Real resilience for London is likely to come from a combination of Community Supported Agriculture (links with farms just outside London), farmers markets, and growing as much as we can in every available space.

We formed a food growing group at our Open Space meeting in January 2012. Our aim is to increase the number of food growing spaces in Dartmouth Park, to learn and teach others the skills to grow and cook our own local and seasonal food, to involve lots of people in the project, and to inspire similar projects to take root in the area.

There are several different sub-projects we are focusing on:

Highgate Newtown Community Centre garden

This was our first public growing space. We gardened there weekly through 2012 and will begin again for spring in March 2013. We will re-start our weekly growing sessions and everyone is welcome to come along, learn and help out. Our first step was to make a site plan during our Intro to Permaculture course in February. We followed this with clearing the first part of the site and in April we made raised beds out of found and salvaged wood. A delivery of municipal compost from the North London Waste Authority in mid-April meant we were ready to go, and we have started to plant our first salad, and vegetables. The garden has been a great success, looked beautiful all summer, and we were able to host several lunches and learning sessions. Read more on the HNCC garden project page.

We hold regular gardening and permaculture workshops, and hope eventually to supply the HNCC cafe with some fresh salad, hebs and vegetables. See our events page for upcoming workshops
See pics of the garden on Facebook.

Whittington Hospital

We were approached by Whittington Hospital who kindly offered us the chance to grow food on two plots of land on the hospital site. We are working together with Transition Highgate on the project, and decided to use this as an opportunity to engage the hospital staff in food growing. We began last May by holding meetings with staff to speak about Transition, food growing and start the process of forming a Whittington gardening club.

The first plot, ‘Whittington Green’, will be a raised bed, vegetable and herb garden, with the opportunity to also plant some fruit shrubs. We held an interactive design workshop with interested staff to plan the space in June, and finally in November a group of staff began to hold regular gardening sessions and planted some perennials in the plot they are temporarily using in the Waterlow Park Kitchen garden. The Whittington Green raised beds will be completed by the hospital by the end of the winter, and in spring 2013 planting of the new garden will begin.

Garden Share

This is a project to match growers who do not have space with those who have gardens but lack either the skills, time or capacity to grow food. Please see the Garden Share project page for more information.

Fruit Picking

In 2012 we began to map and pick fruit from local trees that were not being harvested, with the aim of reducing food waste, and of course to have delicious local fruit to eat and cook. We will continue in 2013 – please see the Fruit Picking project page for more info.

More plans for 2013

The Growing group, coordinated by Dinaz Stafford and Susan Seymour is planning regular workshops, events and gardening sessions for the year, based around the seasons and with the aim of getting as many of us growing and eating local food as possible, and increasing biodiversity in the area. Please get in touch if you’d like to be involved at transitiondp@gmail.com


3 thoughts on “Growing

  1. Hello Transition Dartmouth Park!
    I am writing to see whether you may want to collaborate?
    I host wild food and medicine foraging walks. I do this as I have come to see that the
    simple act of knowing and using our wild plants increases community
    resiliance and self reliance.
    When you further take into account the ecological onsaught that is japanese
    knotweed and other invasive weeds which could be used as food and
    medicine, then foraging walks are an easily afforded gateway to solve a
    number of problems faced by communities in large urban areas.
    I am in the process of contacting a number of London based groups as I
    regularly host walks in different parts of the city.
    To get a snapshot of my work please visit youtube channel ipsophyto777 and
    the new ipsophyto facebook page
    Kind regards,
    Christopher Hope BSc Med Hort

    Posted by Christopher Hope | January 6, 2013, 11:12 pm
    • Hi Christopher,

      Thanks for getting in touch and this sounds like a fantastic idea. I did a foraging course a few years ago and found it life changing, in terms of the connection with nature it gave me. Sharing these kinds of skills is a cornerstone of what Transition is about, so very important.

      It would be great if you could email us at transitiondp@gmail.com to discuss further, or come along to our ‘projects for 2013’meeting this Saturday, 2pm-4pm at Highgate Newtown Community Centre.

      Posted by saraayech | January 9, 2013, 1:05 am


  1. Pingback: Transition Drinks and gardeners question time. « Transition Dartmouth Park - April 30, 2012

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