Sustainable UCL


Community Growing Projects

Over the last few years, there has been a growing body of evidence for supporting the benefits of community growing for physical and mental wellbeing.

Bentham's Farm

12 July 2022

Closeness to nature, regular exercise, team work, a sense of empowerment and gaining an understanding in how to grow healthy, seasonal food are amongst some of the known positive effects of community gardening.

Bentham’s Farm: UCL’s student-led allotment project

Bentham's Farm is UCL’s first urban agriculture project, working to improve UCL's access to sustainably sourced vegetables. Bentham’s Farm are a community of food growers who have established allotment space at the back of the Ifor Evans/Max Rayne halls in Camden. They offer UCL staff and students a space to learn about and experience food production.

They meet at the farm every Saturday from 2pm, but volunteers are welcome to visit at any time to work on the project, or pick some vegetables.

> Learn more about the Student Union Urban Famers Society.

Edible College London

Edible College London (ECL) is a collaborative student-staff project aiming to bring together UCL's sustainability-driven individuals, groups and societies in the name of improving the edible potential of the campus and grounds. Spearheaded by UCL Anthropology alumnus Pia Keeley-Johnson and Dr Dalia Iskander (Head of Medical Anthropology), this project (Funded by a Dean's Strategic Award, 2021) will pave the way for a future where UCL's campus provides edible, herbal and therapeutic resources for its community.

> visit Edible College London.

IOE Garden Project

The UCL IOE gardens were created by a student-led team, and were designed to encourage birds, bees, bats and butterflies to the UCL campus whilst being sympathetic to the brutalist style of architecture. The gardens are divided into two areas: the Green Garden, which is an open access space surrounded by native hedging, and Sarah’s Garden, which functions as a community garden and outdoor classroom where both novice and experienced gardeners grow flowers, fruit, herbs and vegetables.

The gardens are located on the level 4 terrace of the UCL IOE building, above the Institute Bar. New members of the IOE Gardening Team are always welcome. Previous gardening experience is not necessary – just bring your enthusiasm!

If you would like to visit or want to know more about the project, please contact Susan McGrath at susan.mcgrath.14@ucl.ac.uk, who can provide details of workshops and open days.

The Global Generation Skip Garden

This movable community garden has been built with students from the Bartlett School of Architecture.

UCL Bartlett School of Architecture students helped develop a new urban garden in the heart of King’s Cross. The Skip Garden, run by charity Global Generation, is an innovative and sustainable space geared towards providing links to, and benefits for, the local community. Throughout the project, the students developed design concepts, raised funding, gained planning permission and realised their work on a real site in central London.

Skip Garden is an urban oasis with a twist - a portable garden that moves to different locations on the King's Cross site as and when land is sold and built on. It is a garden of a thousand hands, built by young people and local business volunteers, together to create a new and sustainable community. It is a unique space where apple trees, pumpkins and beans grow out of skips, and tomatoes, ginger and chillies grow under polytunnels made with water pipes and polythene.

Visit Global Generation Skip Garden.

The School of Pharmacy Medicinal Garden

This staff-led project aimed at educating students on medicinal plants. 

UCL's School of Pharmacy Library staff has teamed up with the Friends of Brunswick Square (a local community group), to create a Medicinal Garden in Brunswick Square. The School has been offered a south-facing flower bed, right outside the School at the entrance to the Square. The library team organise events throughout the year for volunteers to help grow the garden. The aim is that the garden can be used for study at the School of Pharmacy.

To get involved in the project please email sop.library@ucl.ac.uk.

Set up your own project

At UCL we are keen to encourage community growing projects, if you would like to set one up please contact sustainableucl@ucl.ac.uk for support and advice.

Make your office leafy

Interior plants have many benefits from reducing pollutants and carbon dioxide levels to enhancing well-being. They can also be an excellent talking point and a way to make friends.
>Find out how you can green your office.