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World Peace Garden Camden – If not now, when?

Next time you visit Hampstead Heath, take a stroll through the gardens at the station before heading for the Heath!

There is an Energy Garden to be proud of with flowers, fruits and vegetables (even a range of speciality Japanese vegetables thanks to gardener Keiko) and just above the station is the World Peace Garden.

The team at Hampstead Heath, except Jonathan who was holding the camera!

Jonathan, one of the team of gardeners at the Energy Garden (also Laurence, Miki, Merlin and Keiko), started the World Peace Garden 10 years ago after a mix up: “I’m an Estate agent (don’t hate me)!!!  I can’t create a garden!”  Turns out, he can!  The area was a wasteland back then, and it took the work of Jonathan and many other volunteers, including volunteer landscape gardeners and designers, to transform it into the urban paradise it is today.  After holding an Energy Garden meeting there last week, we can confirm it is a truly special place, but read below an excerpt from their website:

The World Peace Garden Camden is a charitable project to promote peace by challenging the usual way we look at the world in the form of an unusual garden containing inspiring messages.

The World Peace Garden Camden is an opportunity to briefly step outside our busy lives and think about a world in which respect for life and the pursuit of peace in every aspect, makes more sense than emphasising divisions between peoples and going to war.

Our aim is to provide a peaceful and harmonious environment with a landscaping feature that is both thought provoking and visually appealing; gently tended as a nature reserve across the sloping site below.

Integral to the World Peace Garden are glass and ceramic Peace Tiles that feature in several sections of a wall. Each tile-sized is handmade with words chosen by each particular contributor to the project.

Tiles sponsored by Friends of the Peace Garden, created by

Give the gardens a visit, and if you enjoy it (how could you not?!), help support the project by dropping a coin or note in the donation box.

http://worldpeacegardencamden.org/

 

 

 

Brondesbury Park’s Patti on why she supports Energy Garden

Patti and her children are part of the dedicated team at Brondesbury Park Energy Garden.  Patti has also purchased a share in the project to help us ensure the future of it, you can too for as little as £50!  Read why Patti chose to do so below:

“My children and I have been volunteering at Brondesbury Park Overground station garden for almost two years now, and we still absolutely love the whole concept of Energy Garden. 

Patti and two of her children at the celebration of the Brondesbury Park beehive

When you dig a bit deeper, you realise that it’s not only about putting gardens on stations and making them look better, but it’s about adding to London’s culture and creating energy; clean energy as well as community energy. When we see bees happily eating the pollen on the flowers we have planted, it makes us feel happy and my kids can see how we really are encouraging London’s biodiversity. 

 

Often, when we are watering, picking weeds or planting new plants, we have station-goers coming up to us and stopping to chat: ‘Thank you for doing this for us – it really lifts our mood when we see the plants and flowers growing’, ‘What a great idea this is’.  Those are only some of the comments. 

 

I volunteer with a couple of other gardeners, and it’

s made me meet people I may never have come across before, so it’s a great way to meet people.  These projects need money to survive and carry on, and Energy Garden is creating a source to sustain this, which is why I want my kids and I to be a part of it.”

To buy a share in the organisation, visit  https://www.ethex.org.uk/energygarden

Or to help with the gardening, email us at info@repowering.org.uk

Youth Training Testimonial

 

Last week we wrapped up our Youth Training Programme with a visit to Kew Gardens Station. We were joined by Richard, Nora and Caroline of the Kew Society, Roger and Richard who have recently chosen to invest in the project (big thanks!), and most of the Energy Garden Team!

 

The final day of the Youth Training Programme

 

It was a perfect way to round off the programme.  We’d like to say a huge well done to Zaira who leads the scheme, Aisha who was a big help throughout, and to all of the young people who took part.  We received a beautiful letter of thanks this week from one trainee, Livvi, quoted below:

“I initially applied to the energy garden internship because I was interested in what it had to offer me. I have grown up with a strong presence of plants and looking after our earth and when faced with the opportunity to further my knowledge on these subjects as well as learn many other useful skills like social media marketing, which is becoming increasingly more important in modern society, I decided that it seemed like an incredible opportunity. And it was. I gained so much more than I expected from energy garden.

Livvi and fellow trainees at Brondesbury Park Station

 

When I first applied I would say that I was a very shy person around the people that I didn’t know well, however, within the first week this completely changed. Meeting so many like-minded individuals has made me so much more confident to convey my ideas and be myself, and I know that after only a month I have made some great friends.

Not only have I walked away with new friends, but I have gained a lot of valuable knowledge. Energy garden taught me the skills necessary for a successful career in this modern society and cemented them with AQA certificates to add to my CV and help me find employment in the world of work. I cannot thank energy garden enough for this opportunity.

Some of my favourite moments from the internship would be the solar panel making workshop where we learnt how to build a functioning solar panel and put them to use, the trip to Kew Gardens on the last day which was such a lovely way to end the whole experience together, the day where we split off into pairs and surveyed the people of London which furthered my confidence and comfort in talking to new people and the two days we spent gardening at hackney downs and Brondesbury park station. This whole experience has been incredible and changed my life.”

The Second Energy Garden Hop on Hop off Tour

On Saturday 20th January, Energy Gardeners braved the elements to view what one another had been up to. It’s one thing to make the effort on your own station but checking out what your Overground neighbours are Energy Gardening is a hot topic now that 30 gardens are complete!

This time round we started at Kew Gardens, a station that homes the oldest gardening society in UK, and is blessed with good earth space for plants along both platforms. Designed by Kew Gardeners this elaborate yet, urban chic garden looks fab through the British winter and summer

 

Caroline and Sue from the Kew Society, brought their newly made placards for all of us to help put into the beds. These placards are the first step in drawing attention to our work, as so many people don’t realise the greening is managed and delivered by local community groups and Energy Garden.

The next station on the tour was Acton Central. A station not blessed with green areas or vast quantities of space but has managed to create a lovely Energy Garden nonetheless. We discussed the garden with the staff present on the platform and were thrilled with their enthusiasm for the project.

Michael Woods showed us around at his local station, Willesden Junction. A maze of platforms and train tracks, with many potential sites for Energy Garden to use. Beyond a rich history, Willesden Junction has a great community group, green space for planting as well as a water supply on its platform.  Making it the envy of other groups who have been struggling with access to water.

Brondesbury Park, where it all started, was the next stop. The moment we stepped off the train, we were greeted by large, open, green space that was cleared and planted. Patti, lead Energy Garden champion of Brondesbury Park Energy Garden, brought out a delicious homemade, blood orange cake to tantalise the taste buds. Alluring some of the group to help fill the compost with some dead foliage.

Next, we went for high tea at Hampstead Heath station with Jonathan who has created the Hampstead Heath Peace Garden (a garden just adjacent to the station). He and Miki warmly welcomed us with teas and coffee to wash down Patti’s cake and fend off the winter chill. As the lead Energy Garden Champion of Hampstead Heath, Jonathan presented us the impressive vegetable garden, where commuters are welcome to go in and pick themselves a lettuce, tomato or even swiss chard.  We discussed improvements for the station and building on his prince trust scholars and ideas to merge with the Energy Gardens schools programme.

As we passed by the living air quality wall at Caledonian Road and ended up at our final stop, Hackney Downs. There were many planters on the platforms and with a little bit of TLC they will be blooming with colour in time for spring.

The next Hop on Hop Off Tour will be along the northern part of the line, remember to follow us on Facebook, twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with all things Energy Garden.

Thank you to everyone who came on the tour, hope to see you on the next one!

Please note Energy Garden is recruiting for its paid accredited training.

Please email info@energygarden.org for more information.

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The Energy Garden Community Bond Offer is here!

Over the last two years, Energy Garden has been working to create a community-owned company that supports a city-wide greening project on London’s transport infrastructure.  We needed to find a new way to raise millions of pounds in a structure that would not change our core principle of equitable treatment for all members. Energy Garden is proud to present our Community Bond Offer which upholds equitable treatment of both individuals (retail investors) and organisations (institutional investors) and will allow all investors to be repaid their interest and capital at the same rate. Energy Garden is currently in discussions with a number of parties regarding their investment in the programme.

 

The £16,500,000 Energy Garden Bond Offer will allow members to participate in:

 

  • A London-wide community energy and gardening society
  • Acquiring and developing renewable energy assets
  • Greening London’s transportation infrastructure
  • Empowering communities to take positive action
  • Educating and training young people in food growing, healthy living and energy
  • Improving air quality and biodiversity
  • Earning a projected 4% per annum return on investment

Investment in the Community Bond Offer will help Energy Garden to deliver community gardens and well-being programmes for the next 20 years. Energy Garden investors are forecast to receive a 4% per annum return on their outstanding investment as well as seeing a high rate of social return on their investment.

The money raised through the Community Bond Offer will allow Energy Garden to purchase a portfolio of solar photovoltaic (PV) sites (roof- and ground-mounted) across the country. In turn, these sites will generate revenue streams through the sale of solar energy.

The revenue from the Community Bond Offer will support Energy Garden as it continues to install community gardens across the Transport for London’s (TfL) Overground network over the next 20 years, and generate a financial return for investors. These gardens act as a community hub as well as brightening up people’s daily commutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To date, Energy Garden has:

 

If you are an institution, sophisticated investor, or a high net worth individual (all within the definitions of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000), please contact info@energygarden.org.uk to request a copy of the Community Bond Offer document or for further information regarding the financial and/or social return on investment.

Please read the Community Bond Offer Document before investing and seek professional advice, if necessary.

Please note Energy Garden Community Bonds are long-term investments. If you invest part or all your original invested capital may be at risk and interest and capital repayments are dependent on the success of Energy Garden Ltd. Although the Community Bonds are transferable, you may not be able to sell your Community Bonds for the price you bought them for.

 

The Energy Garden Community Bond Launch at City Hall – 6th November 2017

On the 6th November at City Hall, Energy Garden launched its Community Bond. Set at the top of the City Hall in the ‘Living Room’, with its spectacular views of London through translucent solar panels. The venue was decorated with cabbages, carrots, apples and Brussel sprouts, harvest for the occasion.

 

The event began with an in-depth session on investment. Directors Liv Harder, Niall Ridell, Errol Stryker and Agamemnon Otero unpacked the financial model, risk, return and Social Return on Investment (SROI). Sharing that sophisticated investors, with a minimum bond investment of £5,000 would receive a 4% interest return and 100% capital repayment from their investment over 18 years. Investors would also see their stake matched in terms of SROI.

 

The project SROI of £2.04 for every £1 invested into Energy Garden is based on an analysis of:

  • Perceived mental health
  • Perceived physical health
  • Perceived competence, engagement and purpose
  • Sense of trust, belonging and safety
  • Learning new things
  • Self confidence

Financial return: £1 = £1.04

SROI: £1 = £1

Total return: £1 = £2.04

 

 Following the finance session, as more guests arrived for the main event, there was an opportunity for all in attendance to network and enjoy the locally grown and sourced food and drink.

 

The main event had good turnout from Energy Gardeners, Transport Partners, Volunteers, Young Interns, Directors, Investors and representatives from the GLA. Energy Garden founder Agamemnon Otero got proceedings under way with an introduction on Energy Garden’s background and recognised all the community gardener’s hard work. So far Energy Garden has engaged 67 community groups across 24 Energy Gardens. There are due to be 40 Energy Gardens by the end of 2018.

 

 

The socio-environmental benefit of Energy Garden is what makes this project so significant for all parties involved. Air quality is improving, biodiversity is increasing, community-cohesion and wellbeing is naturally growing, education is provided; from primary schools to internships for young adults and maturing adults.

 

Asant Agyare, a member of the first Energy Garden Internship cohort, took to the stage to share her story. She illustrated her journey from solar panel making to gardening through the AQA accredited course which led her to enrol in a Masters in Urban Development Planning at UCL.

Following the presentations from Agamemnon and Asant, there were two panel discussions. The first of which saw Emma Fenton, representative of the GLA Air Quality team; Matthew Frith, Director of Conservation at the London Wildlife Trust and Robbie Erbmann, Head of Housing Strategy for TFL discussing the future of sustainable cities. The second panel, discussing decentralised energy, was comprised of Felix Wight, Technical Director at Repowering and Vincent de Rul, Head Of Business Development at EDF Energy.

 

Both sets of panels expressed promising words for the development of London of as a sustainable city. Support from all corners for the Energy Garden project was received.

 

As the event drew to a close the guests tucked into a delicious range of organic food. The food was lovingly prepared Energy Gardeners, and beautifully presented on bark plates and cabbage leaves. There was even a chance to try the much sought-after Energy Garden Ale. A delicious beverage, heartily brewed by Energy Garden members and perfect for quenching thirst after a hard days gardening.

 

The event bar was kindly sponsored by Ashden who’s continued support, alongside The Peoples Postcode Lottery, is most greatly appreciated.

 

Energy Garden Community Bond Launch 6th November at City Hall

This Monday, 6th November, Energy Garden will launch its Community Bond at City Hall. The event will be attended by Energy Gardeners, Transport Partners, Volunteers, Young Interns, Directors, Investors, representatives from the GLA and more.

 

The Community Bond launch will take you through our journey, our current projects and our future plans. As well as this, the event will play host to panel discussions on the future of decentralised food, energy and transport. Above all else, the event is our chance to thank our dedicated members and showcase the amazing work they have done so far.

 

To date Energy Garden has:

 

• Transformed 100’s of square meters of rail side track on 24 stations into food production space
• Engaged 67 community groups in our wellbeing programme
• Created biodiversity refuges for hedgehogs, bats, bees and birds
• Established the first air quality monitoring programme on TFL Overground
• Provided a paid accredited training programme for 10 young people
• Educated over 1500 school children in 37 schools

 

But we’re only just getting started….

 

Investment in our Community Bond and Public Share Offer will allow the Energy Garden project to grow over the next 20 years. The community bond for sophisticated investors is the first of two investment opportunities with Energy Garden. There is a share offer launch opening public investment scheduled for early December.

It’s not too late to book your place at the 6th November event through the eventbrite link here.

 

 

Energy Garden In Upfront Magazine

Energy Garden is continuing its fantastic work alongside its partners TFL and Groundwork London. The work continues to gain momentum and is being recognised more and more. TFL’s internal magazine ‘Upfront’ recently published an interesting piece about the Brondesbury Park Energy Garden. The article contains interviews with station and Energy Garden staff who are both thrilled with the impact the works have had on the local community. Station Service Delivery Manager Alessandra Deal Scala notes how there has been a noticeable change in the community and their feelings towards the station. Energy Gardens very own Luke Jones also commented on the increased feeling of community around the Brondesbury Park station and added how Energy Garden is perfectly aligned with the Mayors pledge to create a greener, cleaner London.

Energy Garden in TimeOut

Energy Garden recently appeared in Timeout with some of Londons most exciting and innovative environmental projects. We are delighted to be held alongside such amazing projects by the go-to guide to whats happening in our city.

TimeOut article discussing the work of the Energy Garden project

Energy Garden is based on local communities coming together to take ownership of their local station and make it a place to be proud of. The response we have had until now has been amazing and we are hopeful that the TimeOut article will inspire a new wave of people to come and join us.

We are really proud to be working on the world’s first combined community gardening and energy project and its great that we are being recognised as working towards the Mayor’s goal of a greener, cleaner London.

Next time you pass through your local Energy Garden feel free to get involved!

Honest Tea launch at Mobile Garden City

 

Honest Tea launched its partnership with Groundwork London today at Mobile Garden City with Honest ambassador and TV presenter Julia Bradbury. The partnership will bring more green spaces and gardens to London, including moving the Mobile Garden City to Hackney to become an Energy Garden. Honest Tea’s research showed that while many Brits can’t keep a houseplant alive  long term, over a third would like to grow their own fruit, herbs and vegetables at home, and half of all Brits and Londoners say their daily lifestyle would be improved if they could spend more time outdoors. An increase in community gardens would provide spaces for Londoners to grow their own food and get involved in gardening.

 

Julia Bradbury said, “It’s no secret that gardening and spending more time outdoors can have a positive impact on physical health and mental wellbeing – and this can be especially important to people who live in busy towns and cities.” Energy Garden’s programme brings green spaces to busy Londoners, who can stop on their commute to take part in a community garden.

Agamemnon Otero, Founder of Energy Garden, added “Energy Garden is about growing home in our concrete in our concrete alleys and grey streets. The programme endeavours to transform Overground stations into community gardens and food growing spaces, to show us how to take control of our urban environment. This programme is sustainably financed with revenue from the sale of renewable energy. Proceeds to the Solar Co-operative will pay volunteer coordinators, purchase gardening materials and equipment and arranging lease agreements on our ‘edible corridors’ for the next twenty years.”

The event included activities such as creating your own hanging plants with recycled bottles: see the instructions below!