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Edible Bus Stops Sprout in London

I'm sure your mother had good reason to tell you not to eat on the run. But times have changed, and one group in London is utilizing the city's public transportation network to help popularize the benefits of healthy eating and urban greening.
July 31, 2012, 7am PDT | Emily Williams
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We've been hearing plenty about edible cities and infrastructure in America recently, but this environmentally-friendly and health-minded trend has been growing across the pond as well. Following the success of their Edible Bus Stop in Stockwell, South London, the team behind the project announced recently that they will be implementing new edible stops in Clapham Common, Crystal Palace and Brixton, reports Ruthie Jamieson.

"The space was humble and neglected by the council, but rather than see it sold, I rallied the neighbourhood into taking it over and guerrilla gardening it as a community garden for all to share and enjoy," says Edible Bus Stop founder Mak Gilchrist on the project's origins. Jamieson points out that although typical community gardens are an effective means of promoting a local "grow-your-own" sense of community, gardens situated along bus routes "not only enjoy a higher profile and greater footfall, they can also help spread the message right across the public transport network."

The team's gardens also serve as communicative works of art which address and respond to the current cultural and social conditions of the city. The Riot of Colour garden, which garnered praise from the Royal Horticultural Society and contributed to the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, was designed in response to last year's London riots and featured colorful flowers "bursting out of a dystopian urban scene, complete with burned out phone box and graffiti-covered taxi." With these gardens, the Edible Bus Stop team aims to send a message of optimism to communities so that they can feel empowered to take back their unused public spaces and make them beautiful and enriching.

If you are lucky enough to live in the London area or are visiting, be sure to visit the Riot of Colour garden, which has moved to the London Pleasure Gardens just in time for the start of the Olympics.

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Published on Friday, July 27, 2012 in The Guardian
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