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15 Jun 2011
Marks and Spencer and Groundwork London
together with London Wildlife Trust celebrated the official opening
of the new temporary community growing garden at the View Tube on
the Greenway, overlooking the London 2012 Olympic Stadium in
Stratford on Wednesday 8 June.
Over 65 guests gathered in View Tube’s
garden in high spirits as they enjoyed the opportunity to
view the garden in full bloom against the backdrop of the Olympic
Village. They were treated to a selection of culinary delights made
by the Container Café using ingredients from the garden – including
spinach & garlic wheel and red onion and goats’ cheese tart
with thyme. Guests voted for their favourite new recipe which has
led to both now being added to the summer menu.
The community garden, also known as View Tube
Grow, has been supported by money raised from Marks & Spencer’s
carrier bag charge and will serve as a social enterprise and
community educational relaxing venue for gardening. The garden will
play a part in educating visitors to the site about healthy living,
food growing and local wildlife and biodiversity.
In May 2008, M&S introduced a 5p charge
for food carrier bags in all of its UK stores, to encourage
customers to reduce the amount of plastic bags they use and bring a
reusable bag for life with them each time they shop. All profit
from the charge is going to Groundwork to invest in ‘Greener Living
Spaces’ like View Tube Grow.
Groundwork London and London Wildlife Trust
collaborated with artist Lisa Cheung of Invisible Dust to
incorporate artwork into the garden. She created functional
sculptures with windbreaks that provide shelter for the plants and
are key to the successful use of the planting beds.
The funding from M&S’ carrier bag charge
enabled Groundwork London to develop this urban
oasis and build five accessible raised planting beds to grow
flowers, vegetables and herbs including thyme and radishes, that
provide a source of fresh ingredients for the on-site Container
Café. The raised beds have been specially designed to maximise
accessibility and two of them have cut-outs to allow wheelchair
users to gain easier access and enable everyone to get involved in
There have been a series of ten gardening
sessions run by Groundwork London for local volunteers to
participate in and learn new skills by taking part in organised
gardening lessons and encourage growth in the garden.
Volunteer Mark Hutchison spoke on behalf of
the volunteers: “Getting the garden to grow was difficult
because we started at the coldest point of the year, so it almost
felt like an uphill struggle! However, our secret weapon was
Groundwork London’s Community Gardener Clare Hillman. She taught us
everything from sowing and planting, and showed us how to tend to
the plants. It was a steep learning curve for volunteers but you
only have to look around you to see how hard we worked.”
Guests undertook a tour of the garden before a
plaque was unveiled by John Hopkins, Project Director for Parklands
and Public Realm for the Olympic Delivery Authority and Rosie
Murdoch, Manager of View Tube. Mr Hopkins said: "The View Tube
is part of the Olympic Park now, and in legacy of the 2012 Games.
What we have seen here today with this garden is the approach we
have taken across the park to sustainable and inclusive
Lucy Geldard, Area Manager, Groundwork London
said: “The volunteers deserve a lot of the credit for what you
see today. We want to encourage people to visit green spaces and
provide an educational space at this inspiring location, so
children and young people can learn in a natural environment and
develop an awareness of green issues.”
Rosie Murdoch, Manager, View Tube explained
the purpose of the garden and thanked everyone involved: “As we
are only accessible by foot and bicycle, sourcing our own fruit and
vegetables for the cafe is the ultimate sustainable
solution. The vegetables grown here will be used as
ingredients for food made by the café. The food waste will then be
composted in the garden to feed the worms, which will eventually
turn into food for the plants. The View Tube is grateful for the
generosity and support from volunteers, the public, the Container
Cafe and partners Marks & Spencer, Groundwork London, London
Wildlife Trust, the Olympic Delivery Authority, London Thames
Gateway Development Corporation, Thames Water and Bike
The View Tube is a partnership project between
Leaside Regeneration, London Thames Gateway Development
Corporation, the Olympic Delivery Authority and Thames Water. With
amenities including a café, education, arts and information spaces,
combined with a panoramic view over the Olympic Park and Stratford
City, The View Tube aims to serve as a social enterprise and