direct mini-link to this page >> http://bit.ly/CamberwellForestGarden
In 1995 it was children between 4 & 16 years old who planted the first community orchard of Green Adventure (see Annual Reports, 1996 & 1997), in a small piece of lawn surrounded by cement in a neighborhood in the south of London, England, that the neighbors used to call "the dogs' toilet".
With the naiveté of beginners we asked the Council to let us have this piece of land for a community forest garden, explained to them on one side of an A4 how this fit the criteria for Local Agenda 21 & in a few months we found ourselves there, not only with permission from the authorities but also with a brand-new fence & announcements board, care of the Council, with a dozen of fruit trees & fruit bushes + aromatic herbs in pots brought from the nearby nursery, 3 friends armed with a box of face paints & a few garden tools, to attract the children that passed by, a cold November sunday.
Shannon, 4 years old, with Stella (then 29 years old, aka Stefania Strega),
with faces painted as clowns.
Note the plain lawn behind, but already with fencing care of the local Council, all prepared for our community orchard.
with the idea of one sunday per year of work (which often didn't happen because we liked to sleep in on sundays, like most ordinary people...), & nearly always with some fun activity planned as well as the orchard care work (BBQs, games, etc. - multi-function meetings wherever possible - good permaculture principle), all those who wished to do so brought their gifts to the garden:
ej. a kind neighbor made a wooden bench, another dug a small pond, anyone could plant something.
- more of these scanned photos below
What is ironic (& sad, this still needs so much education work ...) is that quite often fearful city parents warn their children not to eat this (free!) fruit, when in fact it's actually the healthiest fruit the local children could possibly eat. (even despite the car pollution, which is most damaging when breathed in)
We discovered that they were clients of the box scheme that we also started, in 1995 ...
they left it only because they moved out of London for a few years ... & they were delighted to know that it still existed (only it had changed offices) ... they were going to re-join, they said.
Hazelnut hedge with plum trees
Thankyou to the Save Camberwell Green Orchard group for their persistent vigil & hard work in preserving this precious natural site for the community, in the face of the local Council's unsustainable planning practices (here contrasted very well with it's planning policies).
Suggested Response to the Planning Application:
The Save Camberwell Community Orchard Campaign wish to object to the proposal to bulldoze our community orchard and replace it with a library.
We wish to see this precious tiny piece of nature protected, whilst supporting the provision of a new library in the area on an alternative site.
Southwark’s Core Strategy commits the borough to protecting our environment and natural resources.
The proposal contravenes many of the council’s adopted policies including:
SO 2F “Southwark will conserve and protect natural spaces”
Bulldozing and building on one of the only mini community orchards in the borough does not protect natural spaces.
SO 4B “Southwark will ensure we consult effectively”
None of the consultations offered local people the option to saying where they would like their new library to be located.
Asking people what they would like in a library rather than where they would like it located is not effective consultation.
Despite location not being one of the questions asked of the community, the majority of those replying objected to the bulldozing of the orchard and the building on this site (53%) – with only 28% supporting building on this location.
A deputation to the local Community Council successfully got them to agree to consult on alternative locations. This never happened.
Consultees at one of the consultation events were provided with false information stating that the site’s trees had “self planted” when in fact the orchard had been planted by local children in conjunction with the local charity Green Ventures.
SO2E “Southwark will create a liveable public realm”
This proposal by building on and enclosing the only public open space squares in Camberwell, does the opposite of the creation of liveable public realm – it destroys it.
It also turns the approach to the Elmington Estate from one that is beautifully tree-lined and semi-natural and spacious into a narrow threatening built inner-city lane.
SP11 states “Southwark will protect woodlands and trees and improve the overall greenness of places including promoting green corridors, gardens and local food-growing.”
Bulldozing one of the only and earliest community food projects contradicts this policy.
The orchard helps to provide a green corridor from Camberwell Green towards Burgess Park.
The orchard being the only clump of trees planted in semi-woodland style in the area of the Green makes an important contribution to the overall greenness of Camberwell Green.
SP11 also states “Southwark will identify public areas of tranquillity and protect them.”
In the busy polluted hub that is the major traffic junction of Camberwell Green, the court-house plaza is one of the only such places in the neighbourhood.
SP11 Says “Southwark Will Protect Habitats” and will “provide habitat and access to nature and space for growing local food”
Your ecological survey states that the site provides nesting sites for local birds, it all has the only woodland floor flora in the Green with a beautiful display of wild garlic and bluebells every spring. The site is visited by numerous types of song birds and local squirrels. As it is the only final few square meters fenced off from human intervention in the Green, makes it the almost sole site of value for local wild-life and biodiversity in the Green.
As this is the only food-producing site in the Green, you are contradicting this policy.
The fruit trees are now producing well over a thousand plums and pears per year. These were collected and distributed to local pensioners and members of a local environmental transition group in 2012.
The Camberwell Green Community Orchard Campaign organised 3 community litter picks in 2012.
The orchard is now almost fully mature with a beautiful spring blossom and woodland flower display this spring (2012).
The Court House Plaza and Camberwell Green Community Orchard are a natural part of the Camberwell Green Open Space and are included in the geographical remit of the Friends of Camberwell Green.
The building on the green contradicts the Core Strategy commitments to protecting valuable open space but also the adopted Open Space Strategy with identifies the Camberwell Green area as one of the most lacking in public open space in the Borough.
This will be further aggravated by the proposals to building thousands of new homes in the immediate vicinity of the Green.
Rather than building on this precious resource the council should instead recognise it for what it is – an amenity that is as valuable to the fast expanding local population as a good quality local library.
It should not be seen as either/or but as both are possible and valuable to local quality of life.
We therefore would like to see the Courthouse Plaza and Community Orchard to be included in the proposed plans for Camberwell Green and instead of being destroyed, should be enhanced by their integration into the Green itself.
We attach our petition with over 200 signatures protesting against the loss of our community orchard and hope that you will agree to protect our little local green gem.
We would also councillors to also look at some of the moving personal statements made in the petition by many of the signees. It demonstrates powerfully the emotional value so many local residents attach to this one of the last remnants of nature in our neighbourhood.
Annie Hill Smith
pp Save Camberwell Green Community Orchard Campaign
Video: The London Foragers
In the middle of a commercial cityscape, engulfed by the relentless sound of rush and tear, a faint memory of an ancient way of life remains in tact amidst the unending drive of advancement. Foraging - the means of Human survival for millennia - continues...
in this e-book
Article originally written in Spanish by Stella (in August 2008), one of the Green Adventure founder members.
click to enlarge photos
These are the news of this Community Orchard, in two of the Annual Reports of Green Adventure:
See The 1996 Report
& 15 years later ... there is a Campaign to Save Camberwell Green Orchard in Facebook:
mentioned in the Peoples's Republic of Southwark group
its own Save Camberwell Green Orchard group
"The fruit trees are now producing well over a thousand plums and pears per year. These were collected and distributed to local pensioners and members of a local environmental transition group in 2012.The Camberwell Green Community Orchard Campaign organised 3 community litter picks in 2012.
The orchard is now almost fully mature with a beautiful spring blossom and woodland flower display this spring (2012)."
from "Protecting the Orchard" below
First meeting, 30 January 2012
Just back from inaugural meeting of Friends of Camberwell Green. I managed to get a commitment to nature conservation and protection of open space of the green into the objectives.
I nearly got into the objectives that we were committed to the open space nature of the green and magistrates court plaza but then one person (I think from SE5 Forum?) interrupted and it was watered down to delete the named mention of the plaza.
I then asked that they oppose the building of a library on the associated open space in front of the Magistrates Court - nearly everybody agreed but for 3 people - who argued "we needed more information" " a library would bring more people to the green". "trees can be replanted"
Nearly everyone else there were very positive about saving the orchard but most were unaware of meeting dynamics... but those who want to bulldoze the orchard for the library were very meeting savvy.
They managed heading off a motion from me opposing building on the orchard which was supported by vast majority of people present, I was short of a couple of echoes.. but managed to get the meeting to oppose in principle the building on green open space and they agreed to call a general meeting of the Friends should a planning application be submitted.....
of Camberwell Green Orchard
thanks Penelope, Liliana, & Donnachadh for the great photos!
All copied from the Save Camberwell Green Orchard group
click on photos to enlarge
Like there's not enough concrete to put a library on, all around this?
Not to mention that for a TINY fraction of the cost of building one of those, you could buy tons of books, nice shelving + house them all in existing homes & set up an amazing LETS scheme with a cool database online to browse who's got which book, & share them amongst all the neighbors ... so you get the books + more community connections +++ ...
So sad when there's more money than imagination floating around, & it's used to destroy instead of build intelligent structures.
Council list of trees to be saved