Mabley Green edible park finally reaches fruition
PUBLISHED: 15:07 10 November 2015 | UPDATED: 22:15 10 November 2015
Plans for an edible park in Mabley Green are finally coming to fruition, a year after the expected start date.
Over the next few months, scores of fruit trees will be planted in the park with the aim that eventually anyone will be able to wander in and pick the fruits.
Not only will the park provide healthy, grown-on-your-doorstep produce for local people to enjoy but it is hoped it will inspire a new generation to fall in love with gardening and growing and eating healthily.
The idea for the park came from the Mabley Green Users Group (MGUG) which started a petition two years ago calling on the council to turn the “vast, empty, boring space” off Homerton Road into the largest edible park in the world with £100,000 of funding set aside in 2008.
Two commercial fenced-off all-weather football pitches will however occupy a quarter of the park - which as Common Land was supposed to be protected for everyone’s use - meaning the edible park will now be smaller than first hoped.
Damian Rafferty, chair of MGUG said: “Everyone is thrilled and can’t wait to be able to wander onto Mabley Green and pick fresh fruit whenever the notion hits them.
“We are so excited about the edible park finally beginning.
“One of our major issues here in Hackney Wick is there’s a high incidence of childhood obesity and there are lots of diet related issues for kids here, so as much as it is about the joy of growing things and nature this is also about practical health outcomes for the local community, particularly children to make them excited about fruits and fresh food in a way lessons and lectures alone don’t.”
There will be three areas – one drawn up by MGUG containing apple trees, pears, mulberries and more unusual varieties like medlars, quinces and figs. Children from a local school will design another, and a third area has been set aside for any community group inspired to take part.
Mr Rafferty added: “The other thing is if you look on the map, Mabley Green is between Hackney Marsh, Wick woodland, Victoria Park and the River Lea, we hope with all the planting and the food it will join up these massive areas for local wildlife, creating a green corridor.
“Those trees will be there for another hundred years providing a huge amount of food for the local community, long after we are gone people will be eating that fruit, that’s a positive legacy.”
Works are due to commence in the New Year.