Can you help us make the most of an amazing community garden where people get hands-on experience and learn hints and tips for ‘growing your own food’ based on the forgotten market garden history of South West Victorian London?
We are the Environment Trust and we aim to inspire love of local places by creating heritage projects that awaken curiosity in our community so that together we can improve our local area.
With Heritage Lottery funding we have achieved our goal of bringing back to life the forgotten history of market gardening in Twickenham, Hampton and Hounslow. Built by a dedicated team of volunteers who rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in, they have transformed an area of wild parkland into a beautiful heritage garden which showcases traditional growing methods and heritage varieties from the 1860s.
We now need to create an enduring legacy for our next phase of the garden and are aiming to raise £4,500 to continue the costs of running the garden and educational workshops with community groups. We are keen to evolve the garden and keep the momentum going. We are training new volunteers to have the knowledge on how to care for the garden.
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The ladies of Richmond’s EMAG (Ethnic Minority Advocacy Group) attend an art picnic session at the model market garden last summer
Former market garden of South West London
The volunteers originally dug the site over, constructed raised beds and turfed the paths. We, as the Environment Trust, have provided a garden coordinator who has mentored the volunteers and held workshops at the garden to educate about how to plant, grow and care for it. Since April 2014 our volunteers have tended to the garden twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, led by our garden coordinator. The land upon which the model market garden is built belongs to English Heritage and they have leased the land to us for a peppercorn of rent per annum.
The garden has been a resounding success and we now need to raise £4,500 to continue with the good work from July 2016 to July 2017. Here is a breakdown of the costs and what your donations would go towards:
- Garden coordinator for 3 hours per week: £2,288
- Equipment & materials: £800
- Annual insurance: £450
- Watering costs: £100
- Seeds & plants: £500
- Volunteer expenses: £500
- Publicity & promotional literature: £100
One of the valuable tasks our talented garden coordinator does is to run educational workshops at the garden for adults with learning disabilities.
What are the positives to the community of having a model market garden for communal use?
The garden is a community hub for growing food, learning about horticulture, understanding this important slice of local history, and exchanging ideas. We run workshops for local organisations in the borough of Richmond such as Richmond Adult Community College, Stepping On Out and Keep Active.
By donating towards the running costs of the garden your money will benefit the local community in the similar positive way it has been doing so for the last three years, benefitting volunteers, outreach groups, schools and generally encouraging the community in the neighbourhood to volunteer for the garden and engage with heritage horticulture.
The garden provides a sociable environment to combat isolation and is educational at the same time. It is also a very healthy activity, encouraging levels of fitness for volunteers. The produce harvested from the garden attracts small donations from the public during the summer months (estimated £350 per year), which are ploughed back into the running costs of the garden annually. Some of the produce was given to the local Age UK in Richmond who used it in their kitchen café.
The need for our project:
The creation of the Model Market Garden has provided the platform to bring together a community which previously did not exist. People volunteer for all kinds of reasons and they have told us that the garden offers a much-needed opportunity to promote both physical and mental well-being, as well as being a place for learning new skills at all levels. Feedback received by our volunteers includes:
“… I don’t think any of us believed how much we grew and how prolific the produce was.”
And from another volunteer:
“Yesterday [Community Garden Coordinator] ran a workshop for adults with learning difficulties. And they came and planted onions and garlic and they had an absolutely fabulous time and did stuff they’d never done before. It was ever so rewarding.”
A group of volunteers researched the heritage history of food growing in South West London and produced a touring exhibition which is currently being exhibited at the Guildhall Library, City of London, until 24th June 2016. So far the exhibition as been presented at the Museum of Richmond, Kew Library and Squires Garden Centre.
The finer details about our Model Market Garden:
The main aim of the Model Market Garden is to capture the spirit of the market gardens of South West London, concentrating on the 1860s, using varieties and methods of growing that mirror those used by market gardeners of the time.
Vegetables grown in our beds include local heritage varieties such as, ‘Kew Blue’ a climbing bean; ‘Long Red Surrey’, a carrot which was at one point the most common variety grown in Surrey for the London markets; and the ‘Feltham First’ pea. Local fruits include the apple varieties ‘Cellini’ which was developed in London in 1828 and ‘Royal Jubilee’ which was raised by John Graham of Hounslow in 1887 for Queen Victoria’s jubilee.
We have a set of 10 community plots rented for a nominal fee per annum by local residents who live within a mile or so of the garden. They tend to their plot with families and for enjoyment at weekends.
We have created a sustainable garden that will carry on being useful and practical beyond the life of the project and will continue as a growing space for local people. We welcome any donations to our garden and are enthusiastic to keep the good growing going. Help our garden to evolve and donate today!
(Photo by Claire McCormack)