Our seed for a community garden in Northwick Park was planted by our friend & mentor Sonja Breuer (MSc. Ayurveda Med.). She could see the immense potential in the site and had the vision of a food forest that would bring pleasure to the local community for years to come as a space to relax, learn and grow together. This is especially relevant at a time when organic food in supermarkets is expensive, school children are often unaware of how food is naturally grown and green spaces in London increasingly need protection, allowing plants and wildlife to survive and flourish in their natural habitat.
Our seedling developed nicely and what was once a delightful project idea has started to take shape. We got together with local residents and Brent Council officials in October 2018 to measure the designated garden area in Northwick Park and since then have been receiving fantastic support from the local community and the Council - the latter being the landlord!
We have started to plant fruit and nut trees, shrubs with edible berries, herbaceous perennials with edible leaves, flowers and herbs. There are now places to sit which are made from recycled and natural materials, ensuring everyone can enjoy the natural surroundings. Children have painted and written plant labels for the garden and over the next year information boards to highlight the type of trees, plants and wildlife you may spot in the garden will also be added.
In a mature community garden, the wonderful thing is that fruit and berries can be picked as they ripen throughout the year - when in season and without hundreds of travel miles attached!
Everything will be organic as we shall stay away from nasty pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers, and everything is grown using permaculture methods.
Permablitz London are our expert garden consultants. Their concept is to involve people from the local community as volunteers to learn through doing about permaculture and gardening and through ongoing involvement to take care of the trees and plants.
The garden design is based on the permaculture concept, which mimics natural patterns of ecosystems. The ecosystem develops over time to take care of the garden, becoming a natural self-sustaining development requiring minimal maintenance and improving biodiversity. Of course the garden will need a little helping hand at the beginning until it establishes itself fully.
The way we'll approach the implementation is by installing the garden in phases through a timetable of 'Permablitzes'. A 'Permablitz' is a one day garden makeover event supported by a group of volunteers - we'll organise a few of them for the community garden.
We held our first Permablitz on Sunday 12th May 2019 and our second Permablitz on Sunday 16th June when we planted sections of the food forest garden area. This was a fantastic effort by our dedicated team of supporters and volunteers. Thank you to everyone who generously gave up their time and supported this community project! The highlights of both days can be seen in a video and on photos in the drop down menu in the Gallery section.
If you would like to volunteer at a Permablitz and find out about our events, refer to the Get Involved page and join our mailing list.
We expect the next phase of planting to take place in Autumn 2019 and final phase in Winter/ Spring 2020, however we'll hold a workshop in September and publish the date shortly.
What's happened so far
The Northwick Park Community Garden (NPCG) charity was established in October 2018 and is counting on volunteers and the community to help design, install and maintain the food forest garden.
In November 2018, we officially launched NPCG and kicked off the food forest garden project by holding a community engagement event.
In February 2019, the charity received good news from Brent Council that the Community Infrastructure Level (CIL) funding bid, submitted in December 2018, was successful - fantastic news we excitedly shared with our supporters. Many of you have been instrumental in getting us to there - thank you.
We held a series of workshops between January and April 2019 to learn about permaculture and food forest gardens, potted up seedlings and bare-rooted fruit trees, and made mushroom logs (part of the soil-food web) all in preparation for the forest garden.
On 12th May 2019, the community got together and made a great start with planting their food forest garden in Northwick Park at the first Permablitz. Make sure you have a look, the garden area is located at the top north-east corner of the park, starting from the tall tree - where we planted on 12th May - in the easterly corner of the park (in relation to Northwick Park tube station in the west), going alongside the railway fence towards the footbridge leading to Conway Gardens.
On 16th June 2019, we did some more work onsite with the help of 54 volunteers who helped us to plant out the lovely plants we received from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. We installed innovative seating made from recycled materials which are also cleverly disguised water storage tanks.
On 30th June 2019, we officially opened the community garden.
Check out our News & Events page for what's coming up next and your chance to get involved.