Sunday, 3 May 2015

St Raphael's 'Edible Garden' needs your vote

Sufra NW London is supporting a bid for Aviva Community Funds for an 'Edible Garden' on St Raphael's Estate in Brent.

St. Raphael’s Estate is the most deprived neighbourhood in Brent, with a notorious reputation for gang-related crime and anti-social behaviour. Levels of unemployment are high, and with no permanent facilities or activities on the estate, ethnic tensions occasionally erupt in violence. Health inequalities on the estate exacerbate deprivation in the local community. 11% of residents suffer from diabetes whereas the borough average is 7% and 24% of children in Year 6 are classified as obese. Apart from a lack of physical exercise, local residents simply cannot afford a balanced and healthy diet. The cost of fruit and vegetables at the local supermarket makes fresh produce a luxury rather than an essential part of every meal.

After 3 years of campaigning, local residents on the estate have finally secured a lease on a derelict plot in the middle of the estate measuring over 400 square metres to setup a food growing project. The aim of the project is to promote healthy eating and physical exercise by encouraging local people to manage the site, grow their own fruit and vegetables at no cost, understand the provenance of food and familiarise themselves with eating fresh ingredients.

Over the last few months, the community has cleared much of the site of rubble, fly-tipping and other waste and we are now looking to develop a land-mark site that improves the appearance of the estate, gives local people the opportunity to take part in alternative physical exercise by growing their own produce and promotes conservation and recycling of food waste.

St. Raphael’s Edible Garden will strengthen this grassroots initiative by bringing together more residents to build raised beds and growing structures using recycled materials, learn to grow a variety of fruit and vegetables using both traditional and innovative techniques like hydrophonic and aquaphonic farming and benefit from seasonal produce throughout the year. Without any regular social or cultural activities on the estate, the new space will also allow residents to organise outdoor events celebrating national and cultural festivals.

Alongside a programme of food growing and social events, the Edible Garden will offer accredited learning opportunities; young people will learn practical skills in growing and gardening, families will take part in cookery classes to learn about nutrition and healthy eating and resident ambassadors will learn to promote environmental awareness and encourage local conservation on the estate. Through regular social activities, local volunteering and skills development opportunities, the project will improve health and well-being as part of a wider programme to contribute towards the economic prosperity of our neglected community.

We hope that you will support this project by helping us to fund equipment and materials to make our vision a reality.

To register with AVIVA and vote for this project go to LINK

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