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PNK Garden – Once a disused piece of land is now an urban green space for all to enjoy (Lewisham Community Garden Series, Part 7)

Updated: May 29

By Josey Crane Burrows, Good Food Lewisham volunteer


Lara Salinas, founder of PNK Garden is a force to be reckoned with. Her infectious energy, passion and drive are clear. A Travis Perkins truck is late delivering 170 bags of compost and when it’s looking lost and about to drive off, Lara does an impressive finger-whistle and darts across the garden to get the driver’s attention. Over a brew of coffee and a punnet of blackberries and cherries (brought by Victoria, one of the members), Lara tells me the story of how the PNK garden came to be...























(from left, Lara, Victoria and Sonia)


The idea of a community garden came to Lara while she was suffering with long COVID back in 2020. The space below her block of flats, which was privately owned, had been disused and unloved for 30 years. She wanted to turn it into a community green space. Her background as a social designer and work with local communities and government meant she knew how to go about it but never had she sat on this side of the table. 


Lara found out who owned the land and they agreed to let her clear and use the space so long as she kept the name PNK, as a tribute to the PNK family. The land is classified as contaminated from previous industrial action in the 1970s so they grow everything above ground in planters. They’re learning as they go. They’ve been growing broccoli, onions, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, potatoes and herbs etc. They grow flowers in a small poly-tunnel, have their own composting bins and a water butt. They’ve hosted community get-togethers and are keen to do more. Raising funds hasn’t been an issue but they’d like to attract more volunteers, learn more, share knowledge and swap skills and foster a greater sense of community.




Lara also tells me about the Good Gym charity. It’s not one I’d heard of before. They help them with tasks they find difficult to manage. They’re a community of people “who get fit by doing good, they run, walk and cycle to support local communities by doing tasks like shifting earth for community gardens and delivering prescriptions to isolated older people”.

So, if you’re in need of an extra pair of hands at your community garden space, you might want to check them out: https://www.goodgym.org/v3


Volunteer sessions


Open on the 1st and 3rd Sunday each month from 10am - 1pm.

Please send an email if you’re planning to attend: pnkgardenlnd@gmail.com 








What’s the one thing? 


As with all the community gardens I visit, I ask Lara what the one thing is that she’d like people to know about the PNK Garden and she says:


“We’re open, come and enjoy the space”. 









In a short space of time, Lara and a dedicated team of members and volunteers have transformed this once disused piece of land into a green space for all to enjoy. Why not pop along and visit this urban oasis. 




























Address:

The PNK Garden

Corner of Lower Road and Croft Street (near Lidl and McDonalds or the Melville Court flats)

SE8 5DR





















If you'd like to be added to our Food Growing WhatsApp group or if you'd like your garden to be featured in this series, please email: goodfood@lewishamlocal.com


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