Awarded through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project will engage over 200 people to explore the heritage of our movement and create a picture of the history of food growing in London, while building a vision for the future.  

Every London Borough was once surrounded by vegetable gardens to feed the urban population. In WWII, ‘Dig for Victory’ urged people to grow food for the war effort, with open spaces reclaimed as allotments, from domestic gardens to public parks – even the Tower of London lawn. In modern times, we have our own victories to win, on obesity, climate change, mental health and social cohesion – for which community food growing offers many delicious and sociable solutions.

What will we be doing?

We will run workshops and events, including:

  • Workshops with schools, engaging pupils to grow heritage crops and explore and share London’s food growing history through research and interviews with older growers to be shared at our events, placed in national archives, and on our website.
  • Introductory workshops for Growing Culture volunteers to provide them with skills to record oral history, research and share learning about food growing heritage.
  • Heritage visits with the Growing Culture volunteers: 2 visits to growing sites to collect information and history about that site, and 2 research-based to RHS Lindley Library and to Valence House to collect information about the history of food growing in London.
  • Local heritage events/workshops, in partnership with community garden hubs engaging 40 people to share memories of food growing, through storytelling, maps, photos, records and growing of heritage variety crops or sharing a meal.
  • Growing Culture specific Capital Growth training sessions as part of our general programme, e.g., growing your own herbal remedies, traditional preservation methods, seed saving, the art of dying fabric using natural garden plants. (National Lottery Players to get 20% discounted tickets to these courses, please see Capital Growth training sessions for more details, or email us at
  • A networking and final celebration event at the Allotment in Kensington Gardens on Sunday 15th September 2019, part of the Urban Harvest month.

We will also create an online resource to share information collected on food growing and biodiversity heritage, and templates for engaging local communities.

We need your help! 

Please complete our short Growing Culture survey

Growing Culture is focusing on London's food growing heritage and how this has contributed to the culture of families, communities and our city.

We'll publish, share and celebrate London's growing heritage later in 2019 and would love to hear about the heritage of your garden, your volunteers and growers.

In particular, we would like to collect memories of food growing, traditions and how this influenced daily life, work and the landscape of London. This could include information about the heritage of your site and inspirational growers who have a story and would like to take part in an oral history interview. 

Would you, or someone you know at your garden, be interested in sharing a food growing story in an oral history interview?  

Sharing and celebrating this history and identity will help to reinforce the importance of the amazing work the city's food growers do everyday to make our city greener and healthier, often in the most deprived areas. 

We are looking for people with a personal connection with food growing.  People who have been food growing for a long time, or who can remember stories about food production in their local area (market gardens, or WWII Dig for Victory gardens for example).  We would also love to talk to people with overseas heritage to learn about their growing cultures and how it has shaped London's food culture.  For example, we would love to talk to those who grow exotic fruit or veg or unusual herbs and spices in food gardens across London.

If you're interested in getting involved in the project, would like to offer your time for an oral history interview, or would just like some more information, please email  

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Capital Growth

Capital Growth is London's Food Growing Network, with over 2000 members. Whether you are growing at home, as part of an allotment, in a community group or school you can join for free to receive benefits such as discounts, advice and monthly enewsletters.

Capital Growth
C/o Sustain
The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
E2 9DA

0203 5596 777

Capital Growth is a project of Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming.

Last updated: 21/03/2019
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