LiA Reflection 3: Community Agriculture at Wolves Lane Centre

The next segment in my LiA journey - exploring food & education.
LiA Reflection 3: Community Agriculture at Wolves Lane Centre

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Hello fellow scholars! I’ve been busy with the next segment of my LiA project in London on food and education over the past few weeks. My interest in growing leadership in food-centred community organisations brought me to the Wolves Lane Centre in North London. Wolves Lane is a bustling gathering space and garden centre in the heart of Haringey. The centre used to be a council-run facility for growing plants used for landscaping around the borough and was converted into a community space and urban garden, run by volunteers. There are several different organisations collectively caring for this space, from the Friends of Wolves Lane neighbourhood group to Black Rootz, a group of growers dedicated especially to preserving culturally relevant crops and supporting Black gardeners across generations. Coincidentally, Natoora, the food company I spent the first segment of my LiA with, buys produce from the growers at Wolves Lane, as does the popular London restaurant Ottolenghi. The London food world is very interconnected! At Wolves Lane, the community comes first - vegetarian meals are cooked for volunteers every day and customers at the garden cafe can choose what they pay for food and tea. The garden shop sells plants propagated in the glasshouses, and is very popular with families and friends of the neighbourhood who have gardens of their own. On an average Sunday at Wolves Lane, locals of all ages and backgrounds come to the garden with their families and friends, asking questions about what is growing and bringing their own plants home to give a try. 

I am really appreciative of how intergenerational and multicultural the community is at Wolves Lane. I came to the volunteer induction and was instantly comforted by the diversity of the community. The environment really reminds me of the spaces I grew up in, where diversity of experience and togetherness over food was a key value. At Wolves Lane, kids and elderly people work alongside each other. The volunteers’ passion for learning and teaching about food and gardening is all-encompassing. In my first few sessions, I learned a lot about food growing techniques and plant care from the other volunteers who have been at it much longer than myself. I feel that I can gain leadership skills through my time at Wolves Lane by exercising my self-starting on tasks that are needed around the garden, as well as by being a help to the community I am temporarily joining as a volunteer. They are used to having new volunteers, so everyone is happy to get to chat and welcoming. I helped replant beetroot and weeded the tomatoes, and have been doing a lot of watering as the weather warms up (slightly) in the UK and the plants have been quite thirsty. As an amateur gardener, I am appreciating all the advice and learning as much as I can! Will continue to update as I spend the next couple weeks working with the community at Wolves Lane.

A rare moment of London sun in the prop house...

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