The Paradise Co-operative is an urban farming initiative engaged in transformation of our local community through the subject of food. Through small holding principles and a mixed agricultural model of farming we host conversations about social, ethical, environmental and spiritual issues and their impact on local life.
We are working with HMP Wandsworth. Currently we are engaged with two projects: growing plants from seed in the prison garden to plant out in our fields, and also making tools, furniture and fittings for the co-op through their recycling workshop. We’re also hoping to work with prisoners released on temporary licence (if the Ministry of Justice will reinstate its previous programme).
We have two hands to our strategy; one is education through connection with the concept of place. This is for all people, but particularly youth and disaffected persons. The other is community development through curating various events, feasts and installations that encourage the wellbeing of the area and inspire the gifts of the neighbourhood to serve the place they live in.
The Paradise co-op is a great example of small ideas taking root and gradually growing into a larger vision. A number of members of the co-op have already spent many years building connections within the community, and they have been instrumental in transforming untended areas into a community allotment and garden, and in building relationships through working together. We’re excited by this next step in their journey and by the conversations, ideas and dreams that will inevitably flow from this.