The Edible Bus Stop Grows Up

— by Alyson Walsh

It’s model-turned-community-gardener Mak Gilchrist. And her mum. Celebrating the grand opening of The Edible Bus Stop (EBS) project in Stockwell, London. Remember I told you about multi-talented Mak before? We worked together when I was a fashion editor, in a former, more glamorous life – and met again, a couple of years ago, when I read about The EBS project in the newspaper. What started as a spot of guerilla gardening amongst the 47-year-old and some friends and neighbours, has turned into a full-time occupation. Plans are now underway to create a network of gardens.

This weekend, after two years hard graft: planning, liaising with the local authority and tending to the flowerbeds, the very first EBS community garden opened. On what once was a scrap of disused land, the site of a bombed-out terraced house. The garden was designed by creative director Will Sandy – whose idea it was to use recycled kerbstones for the walls. Having seen the bus stop before its transformation, I was absolutely astounded by its magnificent make-over:

It was a proper street party. With a steel band. And local residents gathered to help bed plants, eat, drink and celebrate. When the man with the walking stick (below, below) started dancing, I very nearly blubbed. As Mak points out, ‘This isn’t a garden to be modest about, it’s absolutely awesome! We should rightly be very proud of ourselves. A dedicated group worked very hard to make this happen. Essentially we used gardening as a tool to galvanize the community.’

There was even a guest guerilla gardener, ahem:

This inspirational project shows the power of the people, and how a strong vision and determination can pull a local community together – and change the whole face of a neighborhood. Isn’t that how New York’s High Line came about?

Forget Chelsea Flower Show, I’m staying in Stockwell. Mak Gilchrist for Mayor!

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It’s model-turned-community-gardener Mak Gilchrist. And her mum.