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Mar 6, 2016 2:06 PM ET

Archived: The Islington Gro-Mobile: Turn a milk float into a mobile potting shed and nature classroom that empowers communities to transform unloved spaces into on-the-doorstep veg patches and wildlife havens

iCrowdNewswire - Mar 6, 2016

The Islington Gro-Mobile

We want to buy a milk float and turn it into a mobile potting shed and nature classroom that will empower communities to transform unloved spaces into on-the-doorstep veg patches and wildlife havens.


Islington-based charity, Octopus, wants to buy a milk float and transform it into a ‘Gro-Mobile’ so that we can get into parts of Islington our Urban Wild Places project cannot effectively reach. As fate would have it, we’ve found ‘Bluebell’, the perfect milk float who needs a new home. Much of the conversion has already been done, but time is of the essence. We need to be up and running before the growing season is underway.

We want ‘Bluebell’ to venture into communities and help them transform unloved areas into thriving wildlife places and estates into food-growing oases.

So, in 2016 we’re going to be working with more estate-based growing groups, there’s over 40 of them, which means we’ll be out on the road, a lot.

To be fully operational, ‘Bluebell’ needs to be retrofitted with solar panels, a basic kitchen – for a cuppa and hand washing – along with lockable storage.

What we’ll do:

  • Buy a refurbished milk float and transform it into a mobile potting shed and nature classroom.
  • Inspire local communities to transform their neighbourhood into ‘living learning environments’.
  • Motivate communities to take action and work together to improve their neighbourhood.
  • Engage communities and growing groups in creating urban wildlife gardens, urban orchards, and community veg plots.
  • Equip communities with the skills and tools they need.
  • Support communities throughout with seasonal workshops.

Why it’s a great idea:

‘Bluebell’ will help us pop-up on estates, facilitate community-led seasonal growing workshops and environmental activities during the school holidays, encouraging children and young people to connect with nature and improve where they live.

Octopus is committed to community development and gardening is a great way of bringing people from different backgrounds together. Community gardens can become a focal point for community organizing, and foster the development of community spirit. They also provide a place for food production, giving access to fresh home-grown nutritionally rich food that may be otherwise unavailable to low-income families. Gardening provides a fantastic inter-generational ‘living learning environment’ – for children to learn where food comes from and to think of enterprising ways to improve their environment. ‘Bluebell’ will become a real focal point encouraging people to get outdoors – just 20 minutes spent outside is said to significantly improve wellbeing.

How we’ll get it done:

  • Having seen ‘Bluebell’, we’ve established what work needs to be done, how much it will cost, and who can best do it.
  • We’re talking with Islington Council to identify all of the estate-based growing groups.
  • We’ve started consulting estate-based community-led growing groups about what help they need.
  • We’re setting out a potential route-map for ‘Bluebell’ and seasonal programme of activities.
  • Bluebell’s journey will be lauched and captured through social media to encourage others to get on-board.

With Bluebell available to buy in March and the growing season fast approaching, now is the time to secure our milk float. We’ve planned a month for retrofitting and rebranding the milk float, which means it will be ready in time for a full calendar of events, workshops, and growing sessions. With your support, we can reach more people and more places. Help us deliver nature to their doorsteps.

Contact Information:

Octopus Community Network

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