Vicky is truly passionate about the difference food growing has made in her own life and the impact that it can have on the lives of the children and families she works with. She’s a budding food growing activist and I am proud to announce that Vicky has just been nominated for an Islington Mayor’s Civic Award for her community work.
Vicky completed a horticulture qualification in 2006 and over the past four years has become more involved in the sector both voluntarily and professionally. She has her green fingers in many pies and even when employed professionally she makes sure she’s constantly passing on the food growing message. She’s on a mission to use food growing, sharing and cooking produce to reconnect children to nature and the bigger picture of food production.
Vicky’s been involved with Toffee Park Adventure Playground since 2006. She believes passionately that Toffee Park is a lifeline for the local children and families who use the space. It’s a place where children can experience safe natural play and their fantastic food growing space has been really important. Last year they had a spectacular crop of pumpkins, great herbs and salads. The girls like to make their own ‘perfume’ from peppermint, the kids are really into the wormery and love using the worm tea on the plots, they harvest rain water and make leaf mould for mulch.
This year they made jams and cordials from their fruit bushes and have recently planted pear and cherry trees. They also take binoculars over to the small park nearby to do some urban bird watching, she’s doing everything she can to connect these city kids to nature.
Vicky works at a couple of local primary schools supporting their food growing and wildlife spaces helping with planting plans, the design of a new wildlife space, she also reaches out to the wider school community by offering seed sowing and other growing support to families and has recruited a number of households this way. Vicky also runs the Whitecross Goes Green Gardening Club with Chris Kimberley and supports 5 households new to food growing including the legendary Pearl who ate her first ever crop of tomatoes with extreme pride and joy last Autumn. Vicky’s work with Pearl hasn’t just been horticultural, the ongoing contact around food growing has been an amazing social support for Pearl too.
Since diving head first into organic food growing Vicky’s life has changed. She looks at food in a new way, “I’ve grown with this Master Gardener programme. I’m looking at eating in a different way. My family’s involved, my brother in law was inspired to get an allotment and now we learn from each other. It’s been a really healthy experience learning more and learning how to pass it on with support from the Master Gardeners.”
Vicky waxed lyrical about the Crown Prince pumpkin her brother in law grew this year calling it ‘truly heavenly’ and its seeds are being distributed to friends and family to get it on the plates of as many people as possible. Vicky’s passion is infectious because she’s loving what she’s doing so much, encouraging and supporting her communities from the formal role she plays in the projects mentioned to informal chats with neighbours. She manages to squeeze food growing into any topic.