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Help launch the nation’s first ever edible park in Hackney

PUBLISHED: 09:34 22 October 2014 | UPDATED: 12:15 22 October 2014

An aeriel view of the edible garden in Mabley Green.

An aeriel view of the edible garden in Mabley Green.

Archant

Green-fingered residents are being invited to help transform a desolate playing field into the nation’s first ever “edible park”.

Participants at a launch event at Mabley Green this weekend will be able to learn about trees and shrubs and have a say about what should be planted there next year when planting will start.

The idea to transform the “vast, empty, boring space” off Homerton Road was given the green light at a planning meeting at the Town Hall in August, following a campaign from the Mabley Green Users’ Group (MGUG), who cited a £100,000 grant bequeathed for the parkland to the council in 2008.

MGUG Damian Rafferty said “In a pretty short time, mums and their kids will be able to wander in and let their kids run around collecting delicious fresh fruit for free, sit in the shade of trees, have a picnic or just throw a blanket out on the grass and spend the afternoon with friends.

“Right now all there is, is empty playing fields with a view of the Olympic Stadium, the view is the one thing that will remain.

“School kids and older people will be out there planting and looking after fruit and nut trees and during the week, local trainees will be getting invaluable skills in horticulture that they can turn into qualifications and, hopefully, really satisfying careers.

“What is really harming young people’s health here is a lack of fresh fruit and veg in their diets and what is hurting older people’s health is social isolation and we are confident we can make a big difference to both groups through the edible park.

“This weekend should be a really fun and educational day for all and the start of something really important locally.”

People will be able to choose which fruit and nut trees, herbs and shrubs will fill the massive community garden.

Root crops and leaf crops like spinach which absorb much of what is in the soil will not be grown however, because of the soil’s high lead content.

This is a legacy from the Blitz, when rubble from bombed houses – which may have contained lead from paint used on houses and pipes – was buried on the Marshes.

Organisations, charities, schools or housing associations can take part in the initiative by taking on a strip of land to cultivate.

The permaculture event on Saturday October 25 organised with regeneration charity Groundwork runs from 11am to 3pm at Hackney Tree Nursery, off Homerton Road.

For more information call 020 8510 5421 or email Jessica.robinson@groundwork.org.uk.


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