The Edible Bus Stop

I’ve made a short documentary about the Edible Bus Stop (no it isn’t made of chocolate), a community gardening project which began in Stockwell and which is now spreading to at least a couple of other sites in south London.

Winter veg at the Edible Bus Stop.

Winter veg at the Edible Bus Stop.

Two end of terrace houses were destroyed in World War Two and never replaced, leaving a wide piece of pavement on Landor Road which came to be home to a bus stop, telephone box and a few – apparently neglected – flower beds. When a planning proposal was made to build two houses a couple of years ago, a community effort resulted instead in the construction of a community garden instead – the Edible Bus Stop was born.

Apart from being a completely charming example of community-led public realm improvement, the Edible Bus Stop is playing into wider debates about food production and urban greening in London, dovetailing with both the Transition Towns movement and the Greater London Authority’s pocket parks initiative.

Listen to my documentary to find out more, and my thanks to the volunteer gardeners and others involved for their help in making it. There are more of my photos down the page.

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Bike the Strike

This week I had the chance to do a piece of work combining two of my favourite things: cycling and the radio. It won’t have escaped the attention of many that there was a two day tube strike in London, and as good student journalists we were covering the story. My angle was to see how people were getting to work without the otherwise reliable London Underground, which I explored by creating an audio journey of ‘bike the strike’.

Biking the strike

Biking the strike

Bike the strike was the brainchild of Mark Ames, of the excellent ibikelondon blog. He volunteered to lead less confident cyclists on his usual commute from Bethnal Green to Mayfair, and encouraged other regular riders to do the same; soon there were more than fifty ride leaders volunteering to help others cycle to work – see them here. I joined Mark and a couple of others; anecdotal observations would suggest that tube strikes = loads of cyclists!

Is Black Music

On Tuesday night I was lucky enough to sit in with the great Art Terry on Is Black Music, his radio show for alternative black music on London’s Resonance 104.4 FM. Resonance say they’re ‘the world’s first radio art station’ and broadcast from a studio on Borough High Street. Resonance is also home to The Bike Show, which is one of my favourite things on the radio, so it was a real pleasure to visit.

I joined Art at the studio at 11.30 on Tuesday night, ready to begin the show at midnight – there is something about that time of the day that really suits radio broadcasting – and we settled in for an hour to play some music and talk a little bit. Art played back to back music from Valerie June, with whom I was a little familiar, and Krystle Warren, who I was pleased to hear for the first time.

Having visited BBC network and local stations and Global Radio in Leicester Square, it was great to see a completely different side of broadcasting, one which is able to operate outside of the confines of public and commercial remit and is run largely by volunteers who just want to contribute to a community good. Earlier this year I took part in Velonotte, a night time bicycle tour of early Victorian London which set off from Buckingham Palace at midnight, and which was accompanied by a live broadcast on Resonance – it’s hard to imagine this being able to happen on any other radio station.

Taken as I was by the music and the mood, I was inspired to take a dodgy selfie of myself and Art.

Tom and Art

Me and Art Terry in the studio at Resonance FM.

You can listen to the show here: