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Our Community Growing Project is Growing

Our Community Growing Project is Growing

We are very glad to announce that the Vine Road Community Growing Project has been successful in securing funding from the Richmond Parish Lands Charity (RPLC) for the coming year! This means the project is in a position to move forward with a number of exciting designated activities for 2023.

The projects will include further developing our work with young people and our educational offering to the general public; as well as extending our food donations to families-in-need via the Richmond Foodbank Network.

Sharing produce with local foodbanks was one of the key projects for 2022. At the start of the year, we set out a goal to deliver 10 food boxes to the local food bank across the summer and autumn growing season. We have harvested enough to made 15 weekly food boxes, each donation delivered contained sufficient produce to serve an estimated 4-5 local families-in-need per week. We have developed an excellent relationship with Holy Trinity staff, who manage the Foodbank at the Castelnau Community Centre, and plan to continue working with them in 2023 – doubling our production goal to 20 boxes.

The RPLC funding will also support improvements to our water system. The extreme fluctuation between drought and heavy rain over these past seasons have made it clear we need to prioritise upgrades to our water system. Whilst the growing project received an exemption to the hosepipe ban, we would like to be as self-sufficient as possible under these conditions. A new catchment and storage system has been designed and it is now it possible to move ahead with implementation. The new system will also improve accessibility of watering tasks for all volunteers and participants of the project.

Our other key projects for 2022 was to develop our seed saving capacity, with a concerted effort made to save seed from a range of our produce. These efforts supplements our own seed needs for the next main growing season and we have also been able to donate five varieties of seed to the London Freedom Seed Bank, which supports community food growing projects across the capital. Our lead volunteers are undertaking a specialist course in seed saving and we hope to continue this practice, whilst increasing knowledge and understanding of the value of seed saving within our volunteer and participant base.

The Community Growing Project now moves into a new phase and as a key Barnes Common project we hope to provide access to urban food growing and socialising opportunities to many more members of our community.