Urban Food Production Potential: Edible Hackney
From “Edible Hackney” by Edward Platt:
“I’m always amazed by the way that professional planning fails people,” Mikey Tomkins says, as we stand beneath a 17 storey block of flats called Welshpool House, near Hackney’s Broadway Market. Even on a bright, sunny afternoon in August, the area is not particularly inviting: people have congregated around a bench on the far side of the road, but the concrete terrace beneath the building and the three adjoining areas of fenced-off grass, are empty.
Tomkins, who is an expert on urban agriculture and a bee-keeper with hives on the roof of a nearby building, is incensed by the sight of so much wasted space. Last year, he produced a map called Edible Hackney, which imagines how the streets and estates of a small area of E8 could be turned to food production. He drew beehives on the roof of the 17-storey building and placed raised beds of vegetables and fruit trees around its base. The garages on the far side of the road became mushroom farms, and London Fields was the venue for an annual festival of local produce. The map offers a beguiling vision of a district recently ravaged by riots, and yet it isn’t entirely wishful thinking.
When Tomkins had greeted our small group half an hour before with a pot of his London Fields honey, he had explained that the tour we were about to embark on would not only take in the places where food might be produced, but the places where it was already in production.
Read the full article by Edward Platt on the Guardian.