When’s it okay to eat out of a skip? When it’s an organic vegetable garden!
A Kings Cross-based project is taking upcycling to a whole new level: reforming not just rubbish but the receptacle that holds it with a project known as The Skip Garden.
It comes from Global Generation, an organisation that’s planting the seed of sustainability in young minds with a range of innovative projects that bring the capital city back to life. The Skip Garden’s nature is as simple as it sounds – transforming waste containers into mobile gardens.
With just 14% of Londoners growing veg in their garden, there’s a lot of little Londoners out there who would cite the supermarket shelves as the source of their greens. Instead of getting down in the dumps about it, this project is inspiring change by offering those urban kids the chance to get hands-on with nature as they learn to make their own meals from scratch. The skips can be taken on the move, so they’re travelling with the regeneration of the city’s central Kings Cross area, and bringing greenery across the borough.
Using organic practices, the gardens are primarily self-sustaining. They are, however, given a green-fingered helping hand by garden manager Paul Richens, and his team of ‘Generators’ – the name given to the youngsters involved in the project. They’re exploring a variety of techniques, from rainwater harvesting, where rainwater is collected for reuse, to companion planting, where compatible crops are grown together for pest control and pollination, and even worm composting, which enriches the soil with natural nutrients.
Image credit: Global Generation
And fresh-grown fruit and veg isn’t the only thing being reaped from this project.
Confidence, independence and a better understanding of nature grows with each seed planted, as youngsters see the fruits of their labour and recognise the impact they’re making on their local community. Empowering kids to take control of their space, this project is as much about growing their social skills and generating a positive outlook as it is aiding the environment and revitalising one of the world’s greenest capital cities.
As well as growing greens and making a variety of jams and chutneys, kids can take part in the bee hive project – run in collaboration with urban bees (who Insider London interviewed here!) – and even use reclaimed timber from the Granary building to create recycled furniture.
The produce is being sold to local restaurants, including the Guardian canteen, and is also available at the on-site café, in an effort to make not just their gardening but their funding self-sufficient. Kids are learning how to market and sell their goods as well as how to grow and cook them, and chefs are even being given a lesson in where their greens are grown!
With regular school visits and input from the local community, this inspirational idea is bringing together Londoners of all ages and backgrounds with one common goal in mind: building a better city. We’ll drink (organically-sourced smoothies) to that!
Image credit: Global Generation
You can take a tour of the Skip Garden by inquiring at the Kings Cross Visitor Centre and you can explore more of the regeneration on Insider London’s Kings Cross Regeneration and Innovation Walking Tour. For more insight into sustainable London, check out our Cutting-Edge Green Tour too.