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Food growing scheme

Cultivate 2015

Masterchef Champion to open

Waltham Forest Council’s Cultivate Festival
Urban Food Growing Festival – 20 to 29 March 2015

Download the Cultivate 2015 brochure (1166KB PDF)

Or watch our promotional video.

For new and experienced growers

Waltham Forest Council is getting ready to host its second urban food-growing festival this spring with an informative and mouth-watering programme of activities to get you growing.

Opening the festival is BBC One's MasterChef 2013 champion, Natalie Coleman, who grew up in Chingford. Meet Natalie at the Waggle Dance Festival Launch event at Blackhorse Workshop on Friday 20 March.

Highlights for this year’s festival include:

  • Saturday 21 March - The Big Dig at at 7 community growing projects across Waltham Forest
  • Sunday 22 March - Gardeners' Q&A (with Speed Seed Swap and Prepare the Ground talk beforehand) at Walthamstow Central Library
  • Saturday 28 - Urban Herbal Street Party with Hornbeam/FRP/Hedge Herbs/LETS with a day of workshops in Bakers Ave, Walthamstow
  • Sunday 29 - OrganicLea Open Day with a full programme of tours, taster workshops and a Harvest of Stories panel, Hawkwood Plant Nursery, Chingford
  • Grow Your Own Challenge – Pick up a starter pack from selected events, learn skills to help you with your challenge or pick up seeds and other things to grow in preparation for a Summer Produce Show in July.

Children and growing are very much at the centre of the festival and this year’s School Challenge hosted by event partner Organiclea will see Potato Parties throughout the borough as part of their programme of horticultural activities.

Firm favourites from last year’s event will also return:

  • The Big Compost Giveaway at four borough locations
  • Herbal Forage Walk
  • Spring into Your Saddle cycle tour
  • Free family workshops in libraries, 'Sow What' seed bomb making, ‘Strawberry Stories’ drama workshop
  • Propagator Planting with the Secret Seed Society
  • Fringe festival events all across the borough: offering a full and varied programme of events, talks, film, tours and performance highlighting food growing initiatives, training, resources and local history
  • hosted by the many community groups and local businesses engaged in the food growing cycle

Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, said, "Last year was a huge success and proved that there is a real appetite amongst local residents to grow their own food. In addition to this, I was especially pleased that we also gave away over 30 tonnes of free compost to our residents. I’m confident this year we can build on that success and continue to transform our corner of the capital into the garden of London."

The Cultivate Festival continues to provide a focus for the borough’s successful movement of food growers, and will bring together the many organisations, community groups and individuals who grow for themselves - and for sale - within a sustainable ethos.

Waltham Forest Council is again working with key partners OrganicLea, Artillery, and Capital Growth, London’s food growing network.

Cultivate 2015 - expressions of interest sought

Organisers are seeking expressions of interest for events as part of the curated festival programme. Proposals could be for workshops, talks, demonstrations, dinners, walks or any other ideas that celebrate local food growing initiatives and supply chains, that can take place in Waltham Forest during the festival between 20 and 29 March 2015.
You can submit an expression of interest via our online form or email as soon as possible.
More information can be found on the Cultivate website.

Are you interested in growing your own food?
Are you interested in helping create a better borough?

If yes, then you will be excited to know that Waltham Forest is launching our very own and first food growing programme, with an accompanying 10 Point Action Plan to get things moving!

Why should you get involved?

Growing your own food has a number of benefits including:

  • Saving money on buying food
  • Improving diet and Nutrition through fresh produce
  • Encouraging greater physical and leisure activities for yourself and your family
You do not have to have access to a large garden to get involved as we are creating a number of food growing spaces across the borough.
There are also many creative ways to grow indoors, on windowsills or in smaller gardens and flowerbeds.

What will we do to help?

Our aim is to become the urban food growing borough of London, so to start with we plan to:Create 100+ plots for food growing, we will also work with Registered Social Landlords, community groups and residents to create further plots
  • Where possible we are reducing the size of large allotment plots to create more food growing opportunities, making allotments more accessible to more residents
  • We will work with schools, community groups and residents to create networks that support ‘grow your own’ such as Gardenshare schemes
  • Through partnerships we will facilitate ‘grow to sell’. There will be advice around what vegetables are in demand and the Do’s and Don’ts for growing food to sell
  • We will work with partners to create access to starter kits and ongoing materials that will ‘help you grow your own’
  • We are working with our libraries to provide better access to food growing books
  • Through our partnerships we will develop training and job programmes in the re-emerging ‘local grown’ food growing and selling sector
  • Within food growing sites, we will allocate food growing plots to community groups and the Voluntary Sector, and provide food growing support at those sites
  • We also plan to promote bee keeping and adopt planting that promotes bees and other wildlife through routine and one-off planting schemes

…..and we will celebrate food growing successes.

Food growing sites

  • Oliver Road, Coronation Gardens Annexe

Please let us know if you know of any abandoned or overgrown areas of vacant land that you think might be suitable for food growing!

If you want to find out more or register for Waltham Forest Food Growing then e-mail Waltham Forest Direct at or call 020 8496 3000.

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