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A DAY WITH S.L.U.G

A DAY WITH S.L.U.G

Hi, James here,

I'm the brewer at Gosnells Meadery down in Peckham. Mostly my work week is spent in my yellow dungarees, stooped over a stainless steal vat, mixing honey and water together to kick off the brewing process before cleaning down at the end of the day (cleaning, always cleaning). However come spring time my job becomes somewhat more varied as we start our guerrilla gardening campaigns and support work for local green initiatives.

This week we put on our green fingers and teamed up with urban gardeners/growers Ben and Alice of 'S.L.U.G' (South London Urban Growers). We put on our signature yellow dungarees and took a short stroll down to St Francis Park on the border of Camberwell and East Dulwich where they have marked out a large area for growing produce.

Earlier in the year they had also built 3 bays for compost, capable of producing 12 tonnes of compost every 2 months, all made from local green waste. They mostly end up using the compost for their flower beds in different areas around South London. On arrival, I was struck by the steam coming up from the compost! It was quite mesmerising. Ben informed us that once the decomposition process is under way that temperatures in the middle of the pile reach up to around 70 degrees due to the activity of the bacteria. 

The park is lovely and the area marked out for growing sits beneath 2 large elm trees, where you could happily spend an afternoon reading in the shade. After a meet and greet we were given shovels and wagon wheels and sent round to Champion Hill football field to start collecting their discarded turf for the third bay of compost.
We spent most of the day shovelling and pitchforking our way through the turf and wheeling it back round to the compost bays, building layers of the nitrogen rich turf,  followed by carbon rich wood chips. Turf, wood chips, turf and so on until the bay was full. Other sources of nitrogen came from spent hops used in the beer brewing process, given by local breweries.
Throughout the day locals who had signed on for the effort came in and out, giving a hand in either composting or planting seeds back over by the elm trees and we got to meet some interesting people. Ben and Alice seemed to be familiar with all of them, as they had obviously helped out before, and there was a real sense of community as they each dropped by; sometimes to help, sometimes to take pictures, sometimes to drop off cake, or at one point a bathtub presumably to build a flower bed...
As the day drew to a close we opened a few cans of our Gosnells mead and we all enjoyed a cup or two with the last of the days sun. We made some plans for the summer (BBQs were mentioned) said our goodbyes and strolled back to the brewery, where I had plenty of cleaning still waiting for me. 
If you live in South London you will have surely walked past some of Ben and Alice's work. You can check out what S.L.U.G are up to or get involved by following them on Twitter and Instagram.
You can also get involved with us directly on May 21st when we collab with more local friends to plant up Peckham.
  • Post author
    Charlotte James