The Skip Garden – a charming oasis with wild flowers, vegetables and herbs grown in skips and beehives and chicken coops – sits proudly and gracefully in and amongst the King’s Cross construction site that it shares its space with.
The moveable, sustainable urban garden has been built using recycled materials, mostly from the construction site. Run by Global Generation, a charity which gives young people opportunities to create a sustainable future, The Skip Garden is the result of young people and local business volunteers coming together to create a new and sustainable community in London’s Kings Cross.
The unique space is home to apple trees and a collection of edibles, including pumpkins and beans which are grown out of skips. Polytunnels made with water pipes and polythene are used to grow tomatoes, ginger and chillies.
The Skip Garden is also home to the Skip Garden Kitchen serving up food to punters from the garden itself. Come twilight, it is where you’ll find volunteers engaging in a spot of twilight gardening or locals learning about all things green at one of Global Generation’s regular workshops.
Local young people, the “Generators”, have worked alongside construction and office workers to build and run this urban oasis, picking up invaluable skills and connections along the way. As well as growing food, tending beehives, making furniture and creating jams from scratch, the Generators learn how to market and sell their produce.
The Skip Garden is largely self sustaining, thanks to a full complement of organic gardening practices, such as aerobic and worm composting; fertilising with comfrey juice; companion and rotational planting; rain water harvesting, and maintaining beehives.
Former “Generator”, Rachel, explains life at The Skip Garden: “It was the construction of the Skip Garden, where I realised all the magic. Businesses, students, builders, those that were so close yet so far away all became a community, working thoroughly on creating an ecological solution – a garden in a skip!
“I had then attended a week’s training programme, it was a rite of passage to becoming a Generator. I was educated in public speaking, developing my carpentry and gardening skills, and we all transformed into budding young event planners and hosts whilst excelling in our ability to haggle ‘pro bonos’.
“Life as a Generator got more and more exciting as I began speaking at events, attending high-class functions, and getting my hands grubby whilst learning about fascinating worms.”
Global Generation are also involved in increasing the biodiversity on the King’s Cross development site rooftops. They are working with young people in every phase of the project, from design and implementation to documentation, to increase plant diversity and shelter for wildlife.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. Follow Rosa on Twitter.