This was the year that a number of our long cherished dreams came to fruition, in large part through the interest and creativity of our young Generators and the generous support of our business collaborators. It was a big year for all things food related, writes Jane Riddiford
Two of the Generators Melanie and Gabrielle dreamed up the idea of having a Skip Garden cafe over a number of weekends in the Summer. With the support of a mentor from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP a business plan was drawn up and a funding pitch prepared. About the same time, Argent the King’s Cross developers offered to support us to create a food selling hatch that faced out into the public domain behind the Skip Garden which enabled us to keep the kitchen running and food selling during the week. Branding agency Karmarama worked with the Generators to create the identity and marketing materials for the cafe ... laid back and local. Meanwhile another team of Generators prepared their pitch to the London Greenboard, for a mobile bike cafe that would go out into Granary Square. Our friends at Rotunda Restaurant and Eurostar got behind the idea and offered professional hospitality training, which included travelling to Paris and back for a day.
The Skip Garden Kitchen and Bike provided a platform for a range of micro-business ideas from our Business and Sustainability BTEC students – ‘Short bakes and Sides’ came up with a range of cup cakes and ‘Fresh For You’ took full advantage of the produce in the garden and ‘Herbarama’ turned their hand for herb infused lip balms, soaps and hand creams.
We were also keen for young people to learn about where food comes from, not only in terms of the soil but also the vital role that bees and other pollinators play. Thanks to our relationship with Urban Bees, who we had co founded the Honey Club with back in 2011, we were able to establish our own apiary with two hives in the Skip Garden. This inspired us to deepen our commitment to bee friendly planting not only in our own site, but on the verges and surrounding the welfare sites across the construction site.
2013 was the year that ecology and entrepreneurialism grew amongst us and our King’s Cross neighbours. As restaurants like the Grain Store and Caravan became established in Granary Square new opportunities came our way. Both restaurants commissioned Global Generation to create planters in front of the restaurants. We are now working five local restaurants in this way with more coming on stream in 2015. Our gardeners have worked with the chefs on seasonality and watering regimes and some of the Generators have done work experience with the restaurants. These small urban allotments are providing yet another platform for building a wider sense of community in Kings Cross; one that involves not only young people and older people but also soils, waters, plants and insects.