Energy gardens come to London Overground stations
by Alice Wright
Brondesbury Park Community Garden
An initiative to create community gardens at rail stations across London is set to launch today. The Energy Gardens project aims to create growing spaces at up to 50 Overground stations over the next two years. Solar panels will be set up to provide renewable energy for the gardens and small-scale amenities.
The project follows the success of a pilot garden at Brondesbury Park Station in North London. The garden was started in 2012 by Agamemnon Otero, a co-founder of the Edible Bus Stop, and began life as the Edible Overground.
The garden has since become a flourishing community hub, enjoyed by both local residents and commuters. Last year it produced 45kg of vegetables, as well as bushels of fruit and beer made using hops grown on the site. The garden will soon be producing jars of honey too, and a solar-powered water pump hooked up to new water butts will help alleviate long dry spells in summer.
With the Brondesbury Park community garden established, Agamemnon has worked with Repowering London, a not-for-profit organisation he founded specialising in local energy, and environmental regeneration charity Groundwork London to develop the Energy Gardens programme. This will extend the initiative to stations across London, in partnership with London Overground Rail Operations Limited (LOROL). The gardens will also provide training opportunities and apprenticeships for young people.
Aga says it is particularly exciting that the project has a sustainable business model, with plans to create a large-scale solar energy site to generate a long-term income for all the Energy Gardens. This will help provide volunteer coordinators, technical support, soil, seeds and solar-powered community noticeboards.
Earlier this year the programme was awarded £750,000 by the People’s Postcode Lottery Dream Fund. This money is expected to fund 10 flagship Energy Garden sites and 40 smaller Energy Gardens improvements across the London Overground.
The programme is being launched at City Hall today [Friday], and Londoners are invited to tell the Energy Garden team which London Overground stations they’d like to see turned into Energy Gardens. To nominate a station tweet @GroundworkLON using #GreenMyOverground or visit www.energygarden.org.uk