Known as “the garden of a thousand hands”, this inspirational project is doing amazing work with young people.
What started as a moveable vegetable garden built in skips, has grown into a community project which provides all kinds of opportunities for local young people. The project is run by our partner Global Generation – a charity which gives young people opportunities to create a sustainable future. Global Generation aims to inspire and empower young people to develop their relationship with the natural world, and will see them taking a lead in generating positive environmental and social change in their communities.
The garden was created, and is looked after by ”the Generators” – the name given to the young people involved with the project – together with volunteers from Global Generation, the Guardian newspaper, King’s Cross construction workers and many other local local businesses. The project brings together people of all ages and backgrounds. And those involved have learnt about sustainability, construction, how to grow food, as well as how to market and sell their produce.
The fruit, vegetables and herbs grown here are used to make the food sold in the Skip Garden Kitchen.
Produce is also sold to local cafés and restaurants including the Guardian canteen. A line of jams and chutneys have been created, there’s a Honey Club, and the youngsters are making furniture using reclaimed timber from the Granary Building.
The emphasis is for hands on activities with young people, working alongside business volunteers to develop and implement ideas that have a positive impact on the environment in and around King’s Cross. Activities that volunteers get involved with at the Skip Garden include:
- Using site materials to build the garden and the planting containers
- Gardening and maintaining the Skip Garden through Twilight Gardening sessions and corporate volunteer days
- Helping run the Skip Garden kitchen and Skip Garden cafe
- Supporting BTEC Business and Sustainability students with business plans
- Increasing biodiversity and learning about bees as part of the Honey Club
Case Study – Veolia works with the “Generators” to create a “grey to green” water system
This year the Generators teamed up with graduates from Veolia Water – the environmental services group – to make the Skip Garden even more sustainable. Through a series of workshops, the young people came up with the idea of a ‘grey to green’ water recycling system. The system takes the dirty washing-up water from
the Skip Garden kitchen and filters it using native marsh plants. The clean water is reused to water the garden. The young people planned, designed, built and installed the system using a series of common domestic tanks. As well as the practical benefits, the Generators involved learned about the importance of water in our lives and the connection between our choices and the rest of the world.
A word from workshop participant Govinda, aged 17: “This project is exciting and beneficial to the whole area as well as myself as we are being innovative and creative as well as sharing ideas which could improve the local community and eventually the world. Collaborating with members of Veolia Water allows us as young people to gain insightful information that is new to us. To have professional adults with us, we can express ideas and slowly convert them into reality.”
And from Adam Marchant of Veolia Water, “I feel absolutely privileged to have met you guys and I loved the fact you were all so inquisitive and had a lot of ideas for the Skip Garden. I feel great that as a business and a collective group of people, we share a lot of similar values regarding the environment and society. I’m really looking forward to the opportunities that this project can uncover and the new relationships that we can all forge with each other, and learn from each other.”