Custom Food Lab began their “Locavore Growing Project” on the Harbour Arm in 2018 with volunteers from Touchbase and the Beacon School. The vast inequalities in our society and the precarity of climate crisis mean that food security is an urgent issue. “Food security occurs when all people are able to access enough safe and nutritious food to meet their requirements for a healthy life, in ways the planet can sustain into the future.” Custom Food Lab believes that knowledge of how to grow and produce your own food within your community is the key to assuring food security. The Locavore Growing Project is a community driven initiative to achieve this aim.

The Locavore Growing project was first established as a kitchen garden on what was once a bare section of the Folkestone Harbour Arm Carpark and wrapped around the building in which Custom Folkestone C.I.C. housed it’s restaurant. It was created to close the loop in understanding of the cycles and interdependencies of food production. It also contained a small Forest Garden, with mud kitchen and bug hotel and a sensory herb area.

We grow plants, fruits and vegetables (either edible or beneficial to attract pollinator insects and other wildlife). We only use natural methods for fertilisation and pest control. We also grow edible native plants found on the Kent Coastline and not often cultivated in gardens.

Since Custom left it’s venue in Folkestone, the garden has been re-sited at Martello Primary School, where it is beginning a new life as a collaborative initiative between Custom Food Lab and the school, benefitting the students and the wider community alike. The Locavore Garden is managed by Locavore Garden Leader Gini Mitchell, who has a strong grounding in permaculture methods and community garden projects. The wider community project is managed by Charlene Legg, Locavore Community Coordinator who is establishing a programme of horticultural interventions in local care homes. We are currently fundraising, for more information please email locavore@customfoodlab.org

The original Locavore Garden was established with funding from the Folkestone Town Grant and maintained with support from Red Eagle Foundation and Kent Community Foundation. The garden was created and maintained with the help of participants from The Beacon School, Beacon Plus, TouchBase, East Kent College and community volunteers. It has also been a setting for childrens’ Garden to Table cookery clubs, where participants harvested and prepared the ingredients for a delicious home grown, home cooked meal.