A team of green-fingered Homerton residents has launched a crowdfunder for an ambitious plan to hire a gardener for the entire E5 postcode.
The appeal builds on the 10xGreener project, which has seen a BBC TV crew following the local community’s attempts to make a single street, Daubeney Road, ten times greener.
The campaign is the brainchild of guerrilla geographer Daniel Raven Ellison, who kickstarted it by teaming up with leading environmental charity Friends of the Earth.
After the initial success on Daubeney Road, 10xGreener now wants to spread its wings by raising £7,500 to pay a skilled gardener for 350 hours’ work – or one day a week for a whole year – across Homerton.
The crowdfunder page says whoever is hired would keep “front gardens, streets and other spaces greener and looking their best all year around”.
So far, 63 people have pledged over £2,500, with five days left to hit the target.
If the E5 pilot is a success, 10xGreener hopes to roll out the idea across Hackney, with a community gardener covering every postcode.
Ellison said: “Residents have been busy planting and growing lots of plants to fill all the grey spaces with life. Now, we’re raising funds for a community gardener to grow 10xGreener further.
“Greener streets can improve health, create biodiversity, cut air pollution and even provide free food. If we can keep 10xGreener going here we can inspire neighbourhoods across London and the UK to make their streets greener too.”
10xGreener says the gardener will spend more time where it is needed, so residents can “expect them to take more time transforming the greyest front gardens”.
The campaign says the fundraising approach is “low maintenance”, and that by sharing the costs, the community can make the gardening work “highly affordable”.
Those who contribute £1 or more will receive a window sticker as a thank you, and those who give £27 or more will be contacted by 10xGreener to find out what they would like from the community gardener.
Local resident Gerry Tissier, who chairs community group Daubeney Fields Forever, said: “10xGreener has generated great energy and brought our community together. A community gardener is the natural next step.
“A lot of residents want to create a greener neighbourhood. But many people lack time and expertise. Gardening can also be an expensive pursuit. By pooling our resources and sharing the cost we can make it more affordable.
“An experienced community gardener can create a stunning display of pollinator-friendly flowers. He or she can advise, maintain, provide discounts on seeds and plants and help with projects like installing water butts and removing concrete.”
10xGreener started as a campaign to improve Daubeney Road, where residents have come together in bursts of weekend activity to create a more natural, green environment.
Children and adults have seeded dozens of flower pots and plant boxes with pollinator-friendly flowers like flax, poppy and Sweet William.
They set up an assembly line to build over 100 planters from cut-up scaffold boards and filled them with herbs, lavender and campanula flowers – a process captured on a time-lapse camera and posted on YouTube.
Volunteers then gave out the pots and planters among neighbours to put on windowsills, hang on balconies, place in front gardens and decorate pavements.
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Others have built habitat panels for bees, painted a sparrow hawk on the wall of one house and put up nest boxes for birds.
The project is being filmed by the BBC Natural History Unit for a TV show about how wildlife is adjusting to living in cities, which is to be broadcast later this year.
10xGreener is supported by environmental group ecoActive, Clapton Park gardener John Little, Hackney Forest School, Daubeney Primary School, the council’s parks department and Daubeney Fields Forever.
The latter is also fighting to save a community garden on a plot of council-owned land earmarked for new affordable housing.
To find out more about 10xGreener, and to contribute to the fundraising appeal, please visit crowdfunder.co.uk/10xgreener