A new project is aiming to supply Lewisham’s food banks with fresh fruit and veg grown in communal gardens throughout the borough.

Grow Lewisham hopes to harness the skills of gardeners across the borough to tackle food poverty in Lewisham, which has one of the lowest rates of food security in London.

The programme will launch this year on a newly established garden in Downham, called The Plot, where a wide range of produce to serve Lewisham’s diverse communities will be grown.

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Grow Lewisham member Bradley Pritchard said: “From converting unused spaces into food-growing hubs to running workshops on how to grow a diverse range of foods, Grow Lewisham seeks to address many of the inequalities we face in our own communities, for example around access, distribution, and provision.

“As it is a grassroots organisation, its purpose will constantly evolve to meet the needs of Lewisham residents – you could say it's as organic as the food we grow!”

The project is hoping to raise £4,500 by May 11 as part of its application to the Mayor of London’s Make London programme.

The group has the support of Lewisham Council, which owns the land of the Downham community garden, as well as a broad range of organisations including Lewisham Local, Capital Growth, and Climate Action Lewisham.

Grow Lewisham – which includes members of Coco Collective, Grow Wild New Cross, and Lee Fair Share Time Bank – said its project is a response to food poverty, as well as the likelihood of future food shortages arising from pandemics, Brexit and climate change.

Using permaculture methods and sustainable practices, the group will showcase vertical growing, no dig gardening, indoor and container planting.

The group ultimately hopes to revitalise more unused spaces around Lewisham, turning them into valuable community resources, and inspire other people to do the same – be it on a balcony, a disused area or a piece of wasteland.

It will support other groups to set up their own community gardens throughout the borough, offering a plant nursery as well as free advice and training.

Capital Growth’s Community Harvest initiative – which supports Grow Lewisham – saw 50 gardens across London, Manchester and Reading produce over 4.1 tonnes of produce for over 1,000 families last year.

You can visit the fundraiser here: https://www.spacehive.com/grow-lewisham