Edible Avenue in Thessaly Road

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Thessaly Road is being transformed with art and planting as part of the wider ‘Edible Avenue’ project, funded by developers Vinci St Modwen, who are currently redeveloping New Covent Garden Market on Nine Elms Lane. Planting workshops with the community took place during the Chelsea Fringe Festival and London Festival of Architecture, led by award-winning art/horticulture collective, The Edible Bus Stop. More recently, parts of the flower market wall have been painted in bright colours in preparation for designs to be applied.

The designs for the wall are being developed through a series of art workshops with local school children. Year 6 pupils from St George’s Primary are working with artists Richard Field and Sophie Rigg to consider their role and responsibility in the community and consider what the area might be like after the development is complete. They will work collaboratively to design key features for the wall, such as apples for drawn apple trees, whilst further exploring the horticultural and social heritage of the area. These designs will be produced in practical workshops and affixed to the wall as part of the Edible Avenue SW8 and as a legacy of their learning. These workshops, taking place in the Autumn term, will form part of the Cultivate programme of cultural education activities for young people aged 7-19, a series of creative projects linked to the regeneration of Nine Elms.

Also contributing to the transformation of the wall is local resident and acclaimed street artist, Mr Dane. His work will be part of the installation on the wall and has been inspired by the work the children at St George’s have been doing. Watch this space for more exciting changes happening soon!

Edible Avenue SW8 is delivered by The Edible Bus Stop and funded by Vinci St Modwen; part of New Covent Garden Market’s Cultural Programme. It is a partnership with St George’s Primary School, Enable Arts for Wandsworth Council and Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership. It includes projects for Cultivate, London Festival of Architecture and Chelsea Fringe Festival.

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The Edible Avenue

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The Edible Avenue project is starting to shape up, helped by a community event that took place at St George’s Primary School on 21st May. And a community planting event for all ages is taking place this weekend in Thessaly Road on 11th and 12th June 2-4pm.

The Edible Avenue will be an exciting treatment or installation to improve the high wall along Thessaly Road, the boundary of the New Covent Garden Market (NCGM) site. The Edible Bus Stop (EBS) are a design and landscape architecture practice who specialise in creating playful and green landmarks for underused or unloved spaces. NCGM plays an important role in the local economy and community, and yet it remains largely unseen beyond its wall. Edible Avenue celebrates the food and flowers that are constantly coming in and out of the market, and the long history of the Nine Elms area as a ‘market garden’ growing food for the city. In Edible Avenue, food growing becomes a tool to connect people.

The team from Edible Bus Stop will create an interactive streetscape, where a white picket fence emerges from the wall, playfully curving to form seating. The wall is to be painted in uplifting colours, with graphic motifs stretching along its length, providing a vibrant backdrop.

The installation will morph into a series of planting areas with fruit bushes, trailing plants, edible flowers and herbs planted throughout. Local residents will be invited to get involved with the planting and tending of these mini gardens and help themselves at harvesting events. The aim is to get people of all ages involved with the new planting spaces to share gardening skills and encourage conversations between each other.

At the community engagement day on the 21st May, the EBS team presented their designs at St George’s school. Attendees were invited to come along and help plant up young herb plants in pots to take away and nurture. They were welcome to keep them, or bring along to the planting days, like the one this weekend on June 11th and 12th, to add to the planters in Edible Avenue. 

Lots of enthusiastic children and their parents came along to plant the herbs and share ideas as to what could be featured on the walls. They gave a resounding ‘thumbs up’ to the concept. There was genuine excitement with everyone looking forward to the changes to the boundary and integration of the surrounding community.

Mr Dane, a large-scale mural art specialist, was there to sketch people’s ideas for the wall. Also present were Cultural Consultant Aida Esposito and Community Liaison Sue Sheehan, who are working for Vinci St Modwen on ongoing community engagement for the NCGM site developments.

The Edible Bus Stop team found that St George’s Primary is a wonderful example of a school that treats its gardens lovingly, which in turn has a positive impact on the children and the atmosphere in which they learn and play. 

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