Organic Lea - Hawkwood Nursery Project
The project will develop 12 acres of disused Local Authority plant nursery (including 1/2 acres of glasshouses) as a community food growing enterprise. Food and plants will be grown sustainably using organic and permaculture principles.
5 paid posts and 120 volunteering opportunities will be created in food production and composting. Volunteers will be recruited from agencies supporting marginalised people living locally. As the project progresses further livelihood opportunities will develop. The project will use the food and plant production infrastructure to develop the processing, marketing and awareness raising initiatives that Organiclea has been establishing over the last 7 years (most recently as the Waltham Forest Food Hub under DEFRA's SPAN project and the current MLFW Lottery project). Training programmes will be developed in the areas of horticulture, gardening, permaculture and composting. Specific training will be targeted at adults with learning difficulties, people experiencing mental ill health, and long term unemployed as well as running accredited gardening courses as part of the Local Authority’s Lifelong Learning programme. Outcomes of the project will be jobs, food for local residents, plants for local food projects and gardeners, and training and volunteering opportunities. Beneficiaries will include: residents from economically deprived inner city areas accessing sustainably grown, local food; community food projects and local residents in N&E London accessing sustainably grown plants; residents from marginalised sections of the community gaining training and volunteering experience. Current partners involved in the project are: London Borough of Waltham Forest, Ellingham Employment Agency, Growing Communities, Hornbeam Centre, UK Food Waste, Eostre Farmer’s Cooperative, Forest Recycling, and London Food Links. Project sustainability will be secured through income from produce sales, composting and training fees. Funding will also be sought to further develop the project.