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The Voice - May 2024

Comment by Geoff

Geoff Juden

A market gardener is an individual or a small-scale farmer who specializes in the cultivation of high-quality, diverse crops for direct sale to consumers.

Market gardeners typically employ sustainable and environmentally friendly farming practices to produce fresh, locally grown produce. They play a vital role in creating resilient and sustainable food systems by bridging the gap between farmers and consumers.

I can remember years ago when market gardeners were plentiful, but now we seldom see or hear of them. Admittedly, community gardens have become more common in cities. Surely one of the best ways to consume local produce at a reasonable price without the unnecessary pesticides and plastics is to encourage what was once an age old practice.

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Chickweed, Stellaria media, is an annual flowering plant in the family Caryophyllaceae. 

It is native to Eurasia and naturalised throughout the world, and is a weed found on waste ground, farmland and gardens.

In the realm of folklore, Common Chickweed has quietly symbolised fidelity and love. This unassuming plant, often overlooked, has been a steadfast emblem of constancy in relationships, whispering tales of devotion through its persistent growth

It grows low to the ground, has a hairy stem, and produces small, star-shaped, white flowers. It's primarily found in North America and Europe. Chickweed has many culinary and folk remedy uses that date back centuries.

A single plant can produce 2,500 to 15,000 seeds. The seeds remain viable for over a decade, and several generations of the plant can emerge in a year. Another confounding feature is that Chickweed bears both flowers and mature seeds simultaneously.

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Rachel Carson

Rachal Carson

One of the most celebrated American writers of her time, Rachel Carson, achieved the impossible:
Convincing a society intent on mastering and controlling nature that we, as humans, must view ourselves as being part of nature rather than separate from it.

An impassioned writer turned biologist turned environmental activist, Carson understood from a young age her place in nature.

Carson was a solitary, yet thoughtful, young girl who greeted the birds on her way to school. Her talent for writing was apparent early on as she wrote her own stories by the ripe age of eight, and by ten had become a published author after winning a contest sponsored by the popular children's magazine, St Nicholas. At age fourteen, Carson was selling her work to magazines.

Her journey into environmental activism began during World War II, a tense and fearful time in which Americans were suffering the brunt of a brutal war and infectious disease outbreaks that caused unbearable symptoms and killed millions.

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Food Waste Pilot Project

The East London Garden Society worked in partnership with the Queen Mary University to produce a report on people's attitudes to food waste.

The report presents a summary of findings from the first stage of the Food Waste Pilot Project, having gathered evidence on food waste and composting practices of residents and tenants through interviews.

What are your views on food waste and food waste recycling?

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The Great Eastern Parks Route Walk

Great Eastern Parks Route logo


Our next walk of the Great Eastern Park Route is on 6 May 2024 (Bank Holiday Monday), from 12.00 hours, commencing at The Bethnal Green Library.

We will learn about the second oldest gardens in London by walking along the end of the soon to be London Highline, through to Meath Gardens. From here we will walk through Victoria Park onto The Greenway and following this to the Channelsea River. We end in West Ham Park.

At West Ham Park we will visit The Newham Green Fair and learn about the 150th birthday this park.

This walk will celebrate the national Park City week in London, bringing together all those who love nature. You will meet others who have a belief that London can be made more desirable if we support the nature we have within its boundaries.

So, join us on the 6 May 2024 and help promote our natural treasures. Remember, walking is good for you. For further information, please email

Book your ticket now.

How to Plant and Grow Asparagus

Asparagus spears

With proper management, asparagus will stay productive for at least ten years, or maybe much longer depending on the satisfaction level of the plants. 

When you invest time and space in garden asparagus, the returns keep coming for a long, long time.

Asparagus planting tradition calls for setting plants in a trench that is gradually filled with soil, a nice but not necessary operation.

As long as asparagus is planted 4 inches (10 cm) deep in rich, fertile well drained soil that is free of weeds, in a climate cold enough to keep the plants dormant for at least two months, the plants will move themselves up or down in the soil to find their most comfortable depth.

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A Celebration of Community Gardeners

St Mary's Walthamstow

Saturday 1 June 2024 – 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

St Mary’s Churchyard, Walthamstow E17 9RJ

Join us for a Celebration of Community Gardening, including plant stalls, Bee17 honey, head gardener tours, and meet the gardeners.

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Cooking in a Different Way ‐ Chickweed Pesto

Chickweed pesto is easy to make and tends to be a crowd pleaser. It is good as a vegetable dip or on top of eggs, meat or veggies. You could also add it to noodles like a traditional basil pesto. Pesto is quite forgiving so feel free to add or omit ingredients to your preference.

Chickweed pesto

Chickweed stems can be a bit stringy and they can easily clog up a blender so use a food processor to blend this all up. If you don’t have a food processor then chop up the chickweed before putting it in the blender.

Depending on the batch more lemon juice or salt may be required. Eat within a couple of days or freeze for long term storage. This recipe produces a yield of approximately two cups.

Finally ...

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