Hip Hop Garden is an innovative education model that combines hip hop and the environment to educate and empower young people to be healthy, entrepreneurial and grow their communities.
The course, which is aimed at 15-25 year olds, offers a mixture of education, personal growth and skills development in teaching young people to “use music to grow their communities”. Modules include Diet and Nutrition, Permaculture, Green Economy and Hip Hop.
Hip Hop Garden engages young people in nature, health and wellbeing; providing them with the skills, training and opportunities needed to overcome inner city unemployment and poverty. It also creates positive images of young people and nature.
Hip Hop Garden is based at May Project Gardens in Morden, South London. May Project Gardens was founded by Ian Solomon-Kawall in 2007, who alongside Gambian native Randy Mayers transformed the garden at Ian Solomon-Kawall’s council house into the community garden, which is the heart of May Project Gardens. Both recognised the benefits of environmental empowerment and “reconnecting with nature for personal, social and economic transformation”.
As part of Hip Hop Garden, Ian Solomon-Kawall and his team regularly work with schools, youth groups and adults to use hip hop culture as a tool to increase social cohesion and raise awareness of social issues, including “Hip Hop and Climate Change”.
Since 2016, Hip Hop Garden has been working with Brixton Youth Project, serving young people in Loughborough Junction – the ninth most deprived borough in the UK. The young people have learned to grow, cook and sell food to the local community, and even try vegan food. They are currently working on their first recorded EP about healthy eating.
May Project Gardens provides education and empowerment for all community members, including Natural City Living workshops, from creating a vegetable patch to upcycling, and open days when any community member can visit the garden and learn about sustainable living techniques, such as food growing, composting, and juice making among others.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea