As we bid farewell to another remarkable year at Leap, we look back with pride on our journey of innovation and community engagement. Our core mission, blending advanced micro-scale anaerobic digestion technology with composting and food growing systems, has never been more pertinent. This year, we've turned significant quantities of food waste into valuable bioenergy and biofertiliser, contributing to local food production and reinforcing our commitment to a circular bioeconomy.
January: Welcoming Sonia Bouchene
The new year began with the delightful addition of Sonia Bouchene from France for a month-long internship. Sonia quickly became an integral part of our team, learning about our vision and contributing significantly to our community projects. Her thoughts: "I really enjoyed working with Leap; it helped me discover new things concerning plants and energies."
February: Embracing 'No Dig' Gardening
February saw us initiate a 'no dig' gardening project, a method to preserve the natural habitat of beneficial organisms in the soil. Parallel to this, we celebrated the early bloom of our first snowdrop of 2023, a nod to our efforts in supporting local pollinators.
March: Springing into Action
March was a month of diverse activities, from celebrating International Women's Day to preparing for the upcoming growing season. We hosted a range of workshops and events, focusing on green training and sustainable living, including our participation in the Generation Hope event with the ReLondon's Food Wave Project and What the Fork team, at the Natural History Museum.
April: Spring Energy and Community Spirit
April marked significant progress with the setup of our 'no dig' beds and the blossoming of our gardens. Our Earth Day activities, including a seed and plant swap, highlighted our commitment to sustainability. We also celebrated the success of our NOMAD project with a conference at UCL.
May: Flourishing Flora and Innovative Food Initiatives
In May, our gardens burst into vibrant colours, and we launched our circular food initiative 'SOURCE', offering locally grown grey oyster mushrooms to the community. This initiative exemplified our commitment to sustainable and local food production.
June: Engaging Workshops and Community Activities
June buzzed with the continuation of our green skills education and involvement with the 'Climate Companions' programme, offering diverse workshops from cheese and butter making to mushroom mysteries. Our regular gardening volunteer group sessions continued to be a cornerstone of our community engagement.
July: Celebrating Project Completion and Abundant Harvests
July saw the completion of the NOMAD pot trials, a significant achievement in sustainable waste management. Our community events, including a summer harvest and cooking session, highlighted the joy of collective efforts in food production.
August: Innovations in Sustainability
August introduced innovative seed storage packets, enhancing our sustainable gardening practices. We also celebrated the first larger batch of mushrooms delivered by SOURCE Foods, marking a new phase in our food initiative.
September: Harvesting Success and Community Connections
Our involvement with the Great Green Estate project, run by R-Urban, was a focal point, involving meals, workshops, and discussions on sustainable community development. We also celebrated the release of the Just FACT film, showcasing our efforts in food justice and sustainability.
October: Community Engagement and Sustainable Practices
October was highlighted by the Great Green Estate project run by R-Urban, focusing on making our green spaces more climate resilient. We hosted a range of workshops, including our Closed Loop Circular Economy workshop as part of the Calthorpe Community Garden event, reflecting our commitment to sustainable urban development.
November: Advancing Projects and Deepening Connections
We completed our raised polytunnel growing space, a major step forward in extending our growing season, and welcomed volunteers and tours, including our current polytunnel set up for our hydroponics systems. November also saw us experiment with wine cap mushroom bed inoculation, exploring new methods to improve crop yields.
December: Celebrating Achievements and Festive Joy
Despite cooler conditions, our polytunnel crops thrived. We celebrated the achievements of our team, volunteers and R-Urban, winning Best Newcomer at the Tower Hamlet's London in Bloom Awards 2023, as well as our participation in SHIFT’s scale-up programme of funding. The festive making workshop and swap party provided a perfect end to the year.
Conclusion: Looking Forward to the New Year
As we close this chapter, we reflect on a year filled with growth, learning, and community spirit. We're grateful for the dedication of our team, volunteers, and partners who have made this journey possible. Looking ahead, we are excited to continue our work, exploring new sustainable practices, fostering community engagement, and contributing to a healthier planet. Here's to another year of innovation, collaboration, and positive impact at Leap.