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Allot going on with food growing

Waltham Forest Council’s Cultivate Festival is back for a second year, running from 20 to 29 March. The Urban Food Growing Festival that proved so successful last year is returning to bring together all those green-fingered individuals and organisations in the borough once again.

Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, said, “Last year was a huge success and proved that there is a real appetite amongst local residents to grow their own food.

“I was especially pleased that we gave away over 30 tonnes of free compost to our residents. I’m confident this year we can build on that success and continue to transform our corner of the capital into the garden of London.”

Cultivate will showcase all that is already on offer in the borough, support new initiatives, provide advice and workshops on growing your own food, highlight established networks and create a forum for further collaboration and future projects.

Planned highlights for this year’s programme will include a Gardeners’ Question and Answer session, The Big Compost Giveaway, a school’s challenge, walks and cycle tours, The Big Dig run, a festival pop-up shop with workshops and activities, and a number of workshops, demonstrations and events.

A full and varied programme of food tastings, cooking sessions, presentations, workshops and activities will be hosted throughout the festival by the many community groups and local businesses engaged in the food growing cycle.

In the meantime, Waltham Forest Council has also been stepping up its work around allotments, recently clearing plots on two sites to be able to bring them back into use. Sites on both Hawkswood in Chingford and Sinnot Road in Walthamstow have been cleared of foliage freeing up 29 plots.

“As part of our Food Growing Strategy we have been doing a lot of work to get more residents of the borough allotments,” said Cllr Loakes. “We’ve had great success over the last two years in reducing the allotment waiting list from over 900 applicants to just under 20 by revising the eligibility criteria to prioritise plots for Waltham Forest residents.”

For more information about the Cultivate Festival visit If you would like to be considered to be on the Council’s Allotment waiting list then please contact the Council on 020 8496 3000 or at

PHOTO: Cllr Clyde Loakes at the newly cleared Hawkswood Allotment site in Chingford.

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