The skip garden is moving - New home update

I woke this morning thinking about how we might get hold of 30 cubic meters of subsoil for the rammed earth wall that will form the back of our new passively heated green house. We are well and truly in the midst of the moment we all knew was coming … The Skip Garden is on the move, writes Jane Riddiford.

Passively heated greenhouse

Passively heated greenhouse

In two weeks-time Global Generation takes on the lease of a wonderful new site in the heart of the Kings Cross Estate. We are in a prime south facing location at the head of the new Lewis Cubitt Park overlooking the new natural swimming pond, so all bodes well for the ecology of the garden and the enterprises that are being cooked up in our kitchen.

Thanks to an innovative partnership with UCL Bartlett School of architecture, the design of the garden structures and the spaces we have to offer will be quite extraordinary. Including a meeting space on top of a shipping  container surrounded by a curtain of sash windows to create a giant glass house, a state of the art chicken coop with a retired silver birch in the middle donated by Hampstead heath, a wetland dining area powered by the grey water from the kitchen. To top it all off will be a giant gramophone horn which will connect to our bee-hives, bringing the story of the bees and most importantly the sound of the bees to the rest of garden. It is very loud so there is an off-switch!

Giant glasshouse

Giant glasshouse

Giant bee horn

Giant bee horn

Back to the soil; how on earth was I going to procure two free lorry loads full of soil? The next day I am sitting around the table with five employees from our friends from the construction companies Kier, Bam Construct and Carillion. We were having lunch before our bi-weekly lunch and learning session began - “I have a quick question” I say  – does anyone know how I could source 30 cubic metres of subsoil. Guy Milton, Project director from Bam Construct spoke up, “as we speak we are pulling out Kings Cross sub-soil where our new building will go up, it is just above the contamination line.” That was all that was said, the next day I receive an email to say that the lorry has been arranged and asking when we would like delivery … job done, well almost. 

The day before I was worried about the concrete pads for the larger buildings which includes a two story portable cabin for our Skip Garden Kitchen. “It’s sorted” Alistair Mitchell from Carillion quietly says, and then adds, “That’s £6,000 pounds worth of concrete for just one of the pads.” Meanwhile Kier are working on a complex transport plan which involves a crane lift for the portable cabins and of course the moving of the skips.  The students are hard at work in the Bartlett school yard pre-fabricating many of the structures in readiness for when we take over the new site.  And in the back ground, last but not least our Lawyer from Herbert Smith Freehill is working up our lease and a set of agreements which will enable the various institutions, especially a university like UCL to open a new doorway on the future of education.

All significant steps, in a giant jigsaw glued together by relationships built over time and an unbelievable amount of trust and good will.  The budget of actual money to be spent is only £20,000 – that being said we need to raise another 10k so if you would like to help us or know someone who can, please let us know if they would like to join us in our adventure.