A workers' cooperative growing food on London's edge in the Lea Valley

Routes to working as a community gardener


I enrolled on a Level 2 course a few years ago having no real knowledge of gardening. That spring I managed to get a work placement at Organiclea through a fund to help young people get paid work experience. I completed six months at Organiclea and learned an incredible amount about plants and people in the community. After some time away, I applied for Organiclea’s Adult Learning Traineeship where I’ve helped at a children’s centre for young mothers, on a course for adults with learning disabilities, on a level one gardening course and I have recently been delivering half hour teaching slots to volunteers at Living Under One Sun Community allotment in Tottenham. I have really enjoyed having the opportunity to do so many different things with my training.

My next step will working as a gardener in a primary school in Newham. The position is full time, permanent and funded straight out of the school’s budget. I will be designing the school grounds to incorporate food growing into the culture of the school and working closely with a chef who will be using the plants in the kitchen in cookery classes. With the help of teachers, I will create lessons for the students that link into their subjects. The school’s long term goal is to act as a training hub to other schools who would also like to adopt the Open Futures curriculum. I’m very excited to see how this project will develop! I also feel I have the support of Organiclea in terms of resources, advice and community links which is a great feeling.

Organiclea has opened so many doors for me. Perhaps most importantly, on a personal level, I have found that working within the organisation has helped me feel connected to my local area and positive about the future.

If you would like to become an outreach gardener, you can gain skills by joining a course, or volunteering with us.
For more information contact us at info@organiclea.org.uk

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