ARRIVING SOON – the edible Crystal Palace railway station!
Moves to introduce the scheme were unveiled at the annual meeting of Crystal Palace Transition Town on Wednesday.
Tim Bellenger said “The eventual aim as you arrive at Crystal Palace station is that there will be boards done in the London Brighton and South Coast railway style that say Crystal Palace with Transition Town underneath – and a whole border of lots of edible orange, green and brown plants – the company colours – which says ‘This is a really welcoming place to come to’.”
Louisa Yates said “There are a lot of people, red tape and bureaucrats above us but there’s a huge will to do it. “The people running the Brown and Green cafe in the station are keen to do this – and there will be plants the cafe can use.”
The train station idea comes as the edible Crystal Palace bus station parks up.
Louisa Yates told an audience of more than 70 people: “Work takes place on the new community garden bus station on Sundays (10.30 am to midday) over the next four weeks.”
(As well as edible plants, there are also plans to provide a compost bin. The bus station will eventually become part of an edible bus route.)
Louisa recalled how she had joined Crystal Palace Transition Town last October. One of the projects she had been working on was the ‘bramble bash’ in the grounds of St John’s church on the corner of Auckland Road and Sylvan Road.
“It’s still slightly overwhelming what we have achieved at St John’s “The bramble bash is now a garden with three beds and a long edible hedgerow – and we’re planning to go on growing it until the vicar tells us to stop!.
“We’re now looking forward to a pumpkin harvest and maybe a soya bean harvest. “Whatever you want to bring down – get planting.”
FOOD MARKET: Andrea of Comfort and Joy on Church Road said the food market – held every Saturday morning at the bottom of Haynes Lane and where she is a regular stallholder – had been great for her business. “No-one knew we existed on Church Road. “It made everyone realise we were about.”
Karen Jones said the food market had come out of a brainstorming session at the annual meeting two years ago. “We took a year to plan it, opened it almost exactly a year later.
“We wanted to achieve three things: reduce the carbon footprint, promote sustainable farming, and increase resilience.
“Many people do a lot of their weekly shop at the food market so we have certainly decreased the carbon footprint.
“We now support 13 small farms in East Sussex, Kent and Cambridge . “These farmers tell us they are really grateful for what we do. “And we’ve created community networks – the way people relate, get people knowing each other. “So have we achieved our aims? “I think so.”
Laura Marchant-Short said they were now donating excess perishable food from the market to the Salvation Army – in whose Westow Street centre the meeting was being held – for their Monday luncheons.
PATCHWORK FARM AT THE FOOD MARKET: Clare Goff, who helps run the ‘farm’, a network of 45 growing spaces across the Crystal Palace area where people can grow vegetables, herbs etc and sell them, said that “if people have a garden space they can’t look after we can grow things there and share the produce.
“And if people have too much produce they can sell, donate or swap it.”
HANDMADE PALACE AT THE FOOD MARKET: Beth Mander said the Handmade Palace, a collaboration of local artists and craft people, had been a weekly presence there since Easter.
“We are planning to hold workshops alongside the stall on Saturdays. “Anyone with ideas and skills that would benefit Handmade Palace – we’d like to hear from you.”
PRESERVES: Around 350 KILOS of local fruit and vegetables had been processed and preserved last year – food which would have otherwise been lost.
“We could barely keep up with the amount” Rachel de Thample recalled. She gave ‘enormous thanks’ to Heather at the Grape and Grain for letting them use the pub to accommodate the preserves which ended up in being used on stalls, in cafes and by bakers in the area.
PALACE PINT / TIPSY GARDEN: David Rothon of the Palace Pint project outlined the philosophy behind the Palace Pint: “You grow some hops, take them down to Beer Rebellion on Gipsy Hill where they are collected by Late Knights brewery.
“They give us some beer and we drink some beer.” (Applause). He said that last year weather-wise for hops was terrible. “This year it’s looking extremely promising. “Hopefully we’ll have a bumper crop.”
Heather Grover, licensee at the Grape and Grain at the top of Anerley Hill – where CPTT hold their ‘Green Drinks’ sessions on every second Wednesday – said that when she took over the pub the ‘tipsy garden’ there had just been built. “I’m more of a pot gardener. “Hopefully our hops this year should be a lot better.”
MUSEUM GARDEN: Mehul Damani, who co-chairs CPTT, said students from Capel Manor college in Crystal Palace park had been learning about gardening in the museum garden. Funding from Capital Growth would see raspberries, a fig tree and a cherry tree being planted in the garden, which they run in partnership with Crystal Palace museum.
TREES: A new project for CPTT is trees, said Mehul Damani. “There’s lots of ‘Happy Birthdays’ where people buy gifts for people they don’t really need. “The idea behind this is: ‘Why don’t we buy them a tree that can then be planted in Crystal Palace and which can then become part of Patchwork Farm – buy apple, cherry – or a grapevine” he suggested.
TRANSPORT: Bus users were under-represented among transport groups, said Tim Bellenger.
“They haven’t got a voice. “Because Crystal Palace is at the centre of the bus universe in south London we want to join a Facebook group called Crystal Palace bus users, exchange ideas and get the voice of the bus users in front of lots of different people.
PALACE PICK-UP: “it’s about dating” said Robbie Gibson. (Laughter) “No it’s not – it’s more interesting than that.
“We have been working with councils to tidy up problem areas in parks; cleared the jungle undergrowth from the back of Upper Norwood library and built a permaculture garden in Central Hill.
“Some of the sites we clear we now have money to spend on plants – including St John’s. “
“The most exciting project we’ve got is a sensible garden in South Norwood working with the South Norwood tourist board and Cllr Jane Avis (Lab, South Norwood).
“We cleared 50 bags of rubbish, toilets, baths, and what some people thought was the remains of a Zeppelin.”
The site, opposite the Harris Academy, will see Captain Sensible inaugurate a new bench there on July 28th with plans to put a pocket park on the waste ground site.