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NESST Kenwood Community Growers

In recent weeks I’ve been supporting Nether Edge and Sharrow Sustainable Transformation’s (NESST) first project. The group have been granted access to the old kitchen garden within the grounds of the Kenwood Hall Hotel. Having been previously used by a local college, the site came with some infrastructure in place: raised beds, a greenhouse and a compost toilet. It was, however, totally overgrown with all the usual suspects: bindweed, dock and bramble.

Greenhouse before clearance
Greenhouse now with plenty of tomatoes

After a solid few days of clearing the more vigorous weeds we could finally begin to see where the vegetables might grow. This is where I came in, designing a masterplan and planting schemes for the first year’s growing.

As the project had been delayed due to the lockdown restricting site access, I had to work fast.  In fact, I’ve never produced a plan so quickly in my life. 

Further unavoidable delays were encountered while protective frames were built and beds were thoroughly weeded and manured.  Yet thanks to the hard work of all the volunteers we now have a fantastic kitchen garden that is already producing crops.  Vegetables that will go to local communal kitchens to feed those in need.

It is quite humbling to see what can be done with few resources other than the many plants donated by the good people of Sheffield and the sheer determination of NESST’s Kenwood Community Growers to make this project a success.

The site before weed clearance
Marking out new beds
Planting inside the giant protective frame

Plans are already afoot for 2021, with new beds being marked out and dug over.  The hope is that this model of co-operation between the landowner and local residents can be rolled out to other locations in the city.  It is hugely exciting to be involved at such an early stage in what I hope is going to be a groundbreaking project.