Nomadic Community Gardens has breathed new life into a disused part of East London, which is now a thriving community space where locals can grow their own vegetables.
Around 100 free allotments, towering tyre sculptures, street art, a scrap yard and a public park sprawl across the 2.5 acre site on Fleet Street Hill, a stone’s throw from Spitalfields.
Nomadic Community Gardens director James Wheale hopes the pop-up gardens, which is one of the largest inner-city outdoor growing spaces in England, can heal urban alienation by bringing people together.
The Gardens opened in May 2015 when property development company, Londonewcastle, leased an abandoned parcel of land to James Wheale. Both the on-site office and lightweight veggie beds are portable, and have been designed as such so they can easily be transported by truck.
The company is called Nomadic because it moves on to other brownfield sites once the temporary leases lapse, using the experience and skills acquired, and the contacts and knowledge of the processes gained. The project is intended to eventually be rolled out to other cities.
The short film below shows how Nomadic Community Gardens has had a huge impact on the local community in an area known as “BanglaTown”. Located within a densely populated area, where a majority of residents live in flats with no gardens, Nomadic Community Gardens has big benefits for people and the natural environment.
Eco-activist, James Wheale was inspired to set up Nomadic Community Gardens following a visit to Berlin where “urban agriculture” projects are improving quality of life and bringing social change to communities.
The spaces are used by the mixed nationalities who live in the East London area of BanglaTown – Somalis, Bangladeshis, Australians, Moroccans, Indians, Pakistanis and British.
James Wheale said: “In cities where the cost of living is increasing, how do you create spaces that enable people to form relationships that change their quality of life?
‘The universal language of food production brings the people together as they help each other and even swap recipes, and it has given new purpose to people who may otherwise have been isolated in the community.”
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea