The Royal Parks is hosting a free Harvest Festival day at its popular Regent's Park Allotment Garden in partnership with community food growing initiative Capital Growth and Capel Manor College.
On Sunday 23 September between 11.00am and 5.00pm, the public are invited to taste the fruits of our endeavours and discover the allotment - a hidden gem in Regent's Park that has quickly established itself as one of London's most successful and inspirational community food growing spaces.
Experts from The Royal Parks Guild, The Royal Parks alumni society, and writer and food grower Tom Moggach will be on site to answer any questions about growing your own food. People are encouraged to bring along their favourite seeds to swap.
Two chefs will be joining Royal Parks' staff and allotment garden volunteers, to cook up a feast from the fresh produce. Among the wares to whet your appetite are freshly baked bread, soup and vegetarian burgers. You can also make pizza from the garden produce and press appetising apples to make fresh juice.
For those who are watching their waistband, there will be plenty more besides food to see and do. Part of the appeal of the allotment garden, now in its third season and run by seven volunteers, is that it is so much more than a fertile place to grow food.
Professional scarecrow artist Joyce Warren will be wowing visitors with a life size green man made from evergreens, an example of the innovative horticultural creations, which are a feature of the walls, terraces and raised beds throughout the garden. Every inch of space is spectacularly cultivated, with many of the flowers such as Day Lilies and Nasturtiums, providing perfect petals and seeds for salads.
Following the success of the summer holiday children and parent sessions held at the allotment garden, covering seeds, seed pot making and insects, there will also be a children's activity table to inspire younger visitors.
For those inspired by the Harvest Festival to get involved in community food growing, Capital Growth - a partnership initiative between London Food Link, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, and the Big Lottery's Local Food Fund - helps find suitable spaces and trains you on its flagship site, which is right here in the heart of Regent's Park. Training sessions cost £20 or £10 to Capital Growth members, and last for two-and-a-half hours, covering various subjects.
The Harvest Festival event is free, although donations to the garden will be gratefully received and help to fund essentials like seeds, secateurs and signs to help explain the projects in the garden.
So come and join us for a great day out - it's all free!
Andrew Williams, Regent's Park Assistant Manager, said:
"The garden is so much more than an allotment - it is a horticultural endeavour. It has been fantastic to see the transformation of a former brownfield site into a green allotment garden, opened up and visible from the Inner Circle and Chester Road."
Julie Riehl, Regent's Park Allotment Garden Volunteer Co-ordinator, said:
"The Allotment Garden is so popular that I have a waiting list for volunteers.
"The seven volunteers who staff it each give a day-and-a-half a week and support one event every month. They love it because it is a food, flower and wildlife garden. It's a beautiful place to be."
About The Regent's Park, Primrose Hill and The Royal Parks:
The Regent's Park Allotment Garden is open from Monday - Friday, 8.30am - 4pm with six open days during the year.
Every year millions of Londoners and tourists visit Regent's Park and Primrose Hill. Regent's Park, one of the capital's eight Royal Parks, covers 410 acres and includes the stunning internationally renowned Queen Mary's Garden which features more than 30,000 roses of 400 varieties as well as the gloriously restored Victorian formality of William Andrews Nestfield's Avenue Gardens. With excellent sports facilities spanning nearly 100 acres it includes the largest outdoor sports area in central London.
The Park also houses the Open Air Theatre and London Zoo while the rural character and dramatic views from nearby Primrose Hill have made it a popular place with Londoners. Regent's Park is home to the country's largest free to access waterfowl collection and is a vital resource for wildlife at the heart of the capital. Over 100 species of wild bird can be seen in Regent's Park each year, many breeding on site, and it is the only place in Westminster where hedgehogs still thrive.
The Royal Parks are: Bushy Park, The Green Park, Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, The Regent's Park and Primrose Hill, Richmond Park and St James's Park. The Royal Parks also manages Victoria Tower Gardens, Brompton Cemetery, Grosvenor Square Gardens and the gardens of 10, 11 and 12 Downing Street.
For further information please visit: www.royalparks.org.uk
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