“I'm a Londoner through & through, but in a city of 8 million people you need things like this to keep you sane”
So says one of the group at the May Project Gardens, in Morden, South London. In this tiny (0.028 acre!) plot, today there's 8 people plus others coming & going throughout the afternoon, all bringing their experiences, skills, joy & reflections on life, from different cultures, into a small back garden & a shared vision of an abundant & trusting way of life.....
The whole project is a testimony to well applied Permaculture design. The garden itself is made up of small intense growing spaces, a small polytunnel, herb spiral right outside the back door, various quick return composting systems, tool shed, central meeting space, & even a fair sized forest garden! The day I joined them, people were working on the construction of a compost toilet & a meditation/chill out pond area. (not in the same breath!)
But the May Project is not just a community garden, it is a revolution! Inspired by food, music, community, & the passion for improving urban areas.
Care for the earth by up-cycling 'waste' into productive systems, “we got some funding for the polytunnel but apart from that we scavenge heaps of usefull materials, there is so much wasted around here”.
Care for each other, through inclusion, education & openness.
And, strikingly, the effective application of 'Fairshare', through beneficial connections with other community groups, the collection & redistribution of surplus food, preparation & sharing of 'skip' feasts, an open door if you need to stay the night & the willingness to encourage succession & regeneration through sharing essential skills & offering the opportunity of ownership needed to continue, expand & replicate the project.
At May Project, they 'get on with it', taking the garden out to public spaces through 'guerrilla gardening' thereby generating an interest & involvement from others in the local community. Thay have recently even collaborated with the local council & so have permission to expand this aproach!
P.S......Another great project the other side of the city is Edible Landscapes London, an edible, perrennial plant nursery (-the plants, that is, are edible, not the nursery itself..) well worth a visit & they also have a website....... http://transitionfinsburypark.org.uk/NurseryBlog.
& Lots of other Permaculture related projects in & around London can be found through the U.K Permaculture Association.