Updated 24 April 2023
Kenwood Community Growers
Very sadly, the Growers had to leave their site in the grounds of the Kenwood Hall hotel at the end of December 2021 and are still searching for new spaces. See below for a record of how the group started and then progressed.
Kenwood Community Growers grew out of the group that helped protect our mature roadside trees. When a community works together, great things are possible! So what else could we do locally to both support and protect our green spaces and help address the climate crisis?
Community gardens provide huge benefits to communities, with the sustainable, local production of food being just the start. They can help create a healthier environment, protect green spaces, improve biodiversity and support wildlife, alongside providing opportunities to improve the well-being of local residents.
The old kitchen garden at Kenwood Hall was identified as a possible site with great potential as it already had a large greenhouse and outbuildings to store tools. After making enquiries with the hotel manager, he generously offered the free use of the site to the community.
Work started at the end of March 2020 with most of the clearing of the site being achieved by a small group of hardworking volunteers spending nearly seven days each week to prepare the ground for planting as quickly as possible.
We were bowled over by local people’s goodwill – from practical help with fixing guttering and building growing cages, to donations of fencing materials and plants, and pure hard graft to clear rubble, bramble and bindweed, and dig beds out of the turf.
Landscape architect and gardener, Fran Halsall, was asked to devise a planting and rotation plan, and planting of vegetables started in late May. In just a few short weeks the group transformed the disused and overgrown former kitchen garden into a productive community garden.
Everyone has given their time voluntarily and the bonus is that, apart from growing delicious food, we’ve developed our veg-growing skills through opportunities to partner with more experienced growers or sharing experience and tips while working together.
Working at the garden gives us the opportunity to meet new people and spend time outdoors. Gardening is a great form of exercise and ‘green exercise’ like gardening can help reduce anxiety levels and improve mental wellbeing.
The community garden is flourishing and we regularly donate our gorgeous greens to @TheFoodWorksSHF to go in their fantastic market boxes and delicious cooked meals.
If you would like to get involved or find out more, please get in touch!