I remember in my first year at SOAS, living in Dinwiddy halls, seeing the Common Ground garden being slowly created as I passed by every day. At the time, the student society in charge of the garden was called the Good Food Society, which I must confess did somewhat put me off from joining them. It was probably a misconception on my part (or prejudice), but the name and activities of the Good Food Society seemed to suggest a group of middle-class veggie hippies who would shove meat-is-murder ideology down my throat and yet not hesitate to beat me to a pulp if they ever saw me going into a Tesco store…

…but like I said, I probably just got the wrong end of the stick.

It does go to show what’s in a name. What exactly is meant by good food, anyway? One man’s organic cauliflower is another man’s overpriced vegetable. One child’s portion of chips is another parent’s idea of poison.

Common Ground is not a vegetarian society, nor is it a hippy commune, although people from either group are more than welcome to join. Meat eaters (like me) and ‘city professionals’ can form just as much a part of this project. As I mentioned in an earlier post, our aim is simply to grow food, learn a thing or two about being self-sufficient, as well as enjoy the quirkiness of a vegetable garden in central London. I say all this because – following comments from a few people I have met in and around the garden – I want to dispel any misconceptions one might have about Common Ground or the group that runs it. We’re not just looking for gardeners, but also keen builders and innovative people with an engineering mind. We are also looking for novel ways to use the space (school visits, perhaps?). Photographers occasionally come by and ask if they can take a photo of the garden; we encourage it. If anyone too busy to come to the garden wants to contribute an idea or article for this blog, then send it in.

The students who built this garden not only achieved something amazing, they hopefully created a small legacy for people in the area. We owe it to them to make this garden a real community garden.



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