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Sustainability bite

Garden events

Come celebrate the seasons in our garden with traditional events like Wassail (January), Summer Solstice (June) and Bonfire Night (November). Look out for our annual Garden Party (August) when we mix climbing, music and food. We also have a number of child-friendly events in the garden throughout the year. For more information, see our Garden Events page or Events blog.


Plotting the revolution.
Our Community Mini Plots scheme allows local gardeners the chance to grow their own veg at The Castle. 
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The Garden

The Castle Garden is a long term project to make sustainable, productive and educational use of the space around the Castle building to grow food for the café, provide a space for wildlife and a relaxing space for the Castle members and staff. 

We began planning and building the garden in 2009 using permaculture principles and recycled materials with the help of strong and willing volunteers. Today the result is a one acre, vibrant, biodiverse space teeming with wildlife and an abundant variety of fruit, vegetables and herbs. 

Everyone is welcome to enjoy the garden; come see our busy bees making honey; try and spy the animals that live in the mini-habitat of the wildlife pond or just enjoy a cup of coffee in the sun during a break.

What you will find in our garden:
Vegetable beds                              Herb gardens
Wildlife pond                                   Forest garden with fruit, nut trees,
Mixed hedgerows                           shrubs and herbs
Natural beekeeping hives               Glasshouse and polytunnel
Cob oven                                        Roundhouse  timber shelter
Food/garden waste composting     Mini plots for members and local
Wormeries                                      community 

PLUS
Rainwater harvesting from the roof – 10,000 litres
Growing communities patchworkers market garden
Swale fed by waste water from the men’s showers

For up-to-date news on the garden see our Garden Blog.  You can also follow us on
Facebook and Twitter


The roots

Food accounts for roughly one third of the carbon footprint of the average person in the UK and that’s mostly from transport, petrochemicals used by farmers and heating for greenhouses.

Local, organic food avoids most of these carbon emissions so we can actually reduce our personal contribution to climate change more easily by changing what we eat, rather than by changing the way we travel and use energy at home.

The Castle Café buys several tonnes of food every year and we’ve started to make changes to what we buy to ensure our food selection is more sustainable.

Of course the most sustainable way of getting food is to grow it organically in your own garden. So that’s what we're doing here! We have about an acre of garden at The Castle, which isn't enough space to grow all the food to supply the Café year round, but it does produce a significant proportion of it. Most of the year you will find fresh, garden grown salad leaves, herbal tea blends and at various times during the season, an assortment of fruit and vegetables.


How to get involved

You can just come and visit the garden or get involved in the following ways:

Garden volunteer programme:
MondaysHerbs
All about growing, harvesting, drying, making herb tea blends and products.
Thursdays - Fruit and Veg
Managing our kitchen garden, growing food for our cafe and composting.

Earn ‘Castle Quids’
By volunteering in the Castle Garden you can earn Castle Quids which can be exchanged for Castle products such as membership/courses etc.
Get in touch by emailing The Garden or pop in to the centre if you are interested.

Garden warm ups
Occasionally we need some compost and other materials shifted around the garden. Get a good warm up before you climb by ferrying wheelbarrows of material. In return we will give you tea and cake! Signs will be posted at Reception when this is available.

Garden events and open days and workshops
We hold regular open days and events according to the season. You can find out more on our garden events page

Mini Plots
If you’ve tried and failed to get an allotment in London, why not sign up for a Castle mini-plot. You help out in our garden and we’ll give you a small plot of your own to tend. Contact mini-plotters for more information.


Growing Communities

Growing Communities (GC) is a social enterprise providing seasonal fruit and vegetables to more than 800 households in Hackney through their organic veg box scheme. We’ve provided GC with 100m2 in our garden to grow produce for their Hackney-grown salad bags. The Castle Climbing Centre is also a pick-up point for the box scheme. Growing Communities won the Best Independent Local Retailer category in the Observer Food Monthly Awards 2012. 

sunflowertomatoes


External links:

Growing Communities, Permaculture Association, Capital Growth

The Castle Climbing Centre is plot 102 of Capital Growth.

Garden blog

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Awards


2012

  • Sustainable City Awards – Winner in Sustainable Food Category

  • Sustainable City Awards - Shortlisted in Resource Conservation Category

  • Capital Growth – Grow For Gold, Inspiring Gardens Category (Second Place


2013

  • Hackney in Bloom – Gold Prize in Best Food Growing (Professional)

  • Hackney in Bloom – Best Newcomer Award

2014

  • Green Thinking Award at the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s Community Sport and Recreation Awards
  • The Castle Garden received funding from Urban Food Routes - an initiative to support London’s small food enterprises to gain expert advice and funding to enable them to thrive and benefit their local communities.

Links

If you would like to see what the garden are up to throughout the year, you can follow them on Facebook & Twitter


Associates

Cob in the Community

From building, sculpting, seed bombs, making clay ovens to mass heat ether rocket stoves. Regular courses throughout the year at the Castle.

Pl(a)ywood

Woodwork for everyone - an unassociated, self-supporting organisation that offers a cooperative and sociable space to learn and do woodworking with like-minded people.