North London Food & Culture

Foodscape: grow your own food in London’s first vertical Urban Farm

Skip the allotment wait list and grow fresh food with all the support you need in Rochester Square NW1

“There’s nowhere else like it in London, or the UK,” says Foodscape founder Michael Thorp, “where you can join a farm, are given your own vertical veg plot, and get all the support you need to grow fresh, delicious seasonal produce.”

We’re standing in the spring sun by a Mediterranean-style outdoor dining table that will be home to alfresco feasts as summer rolls in. Beyond are rows of vertical planters overflowing with veg and green leaves – currently the last of the season’s chard, curly kale, cabbage, broccoli and spinach.

“Our vision is to provide Londoners with an opportunity to grow fresh organic, vegetables with ease, reduce their environmental footprint and help improve urban bio-diversity,” he says.

For membership enquires, head here, mail or call Michael on 07751 438593.

In fact, it’s hard to believe we’re actually in Rochester Square, in the noisy heart of NW1: the only clue is the Victorian terrace overlooking the square on one side, low-rise 1960s council housing on the other. Two minutes’ walk away is bumper-to-bumper Camden Road, five minutes’ south and you’re at the Regent’s Canal heading to the heart of the Market. It’s the epitome of urban juxtaposition – and yet it feels blissful.


Courgette Harvest. Photo: Foodscape

Long-term Kentish Town residents Michael and his partner Jennifer launched Foodscape and their Camden urban farm as the result of their own struggles to find space in the city to grow their own food. “Like most Londoners we struggled for outside space,” says Michael, “and with a 22-year wait for an allotment plot in the borough – the longest in the UK – we were frustrated that no one was offering an alternative. We also lead very busy lives and would have struggled to commit to full-on allotment growing. That classic London mix of space-poor and time-poor – the two main barriers to engaging with nature, and being able to grow.”

Michael and Jenn hit upon the idea in lockdown, and have never looked back. “Everyone was taking a lot more interest in nature, outside space and that was feeding through into organic growing and sustainability. And with over 22,000 people currently on allotment waiting lists across London, we soon realised we weren’t the only ones frustrated with the lack of grow spaces in the city.”

Charming: quirky entrance into another world. Photo: SE

They considered how they could conceptualise something “new, invigorating and different for London,” which taps into this demand, but also makes a positive contribution not only to locals’ own personal wellbeing, but also to our inner-city environments and sense of community.

The challenge traditionally with urban farms is, of course, land. “So we had to think of a way where we could still create a large yield from really tight spaces.” Having lived nearby in the noughties, Michael remembered Rochester Square when it was still a functioning plant nursery; since 2016 it’s been a ceramics studio in leafy grounds. “So we quickly identified this patch, and how many planters we could get in, and off we set.”

Foodscape members enjoying a Saturday Plant Out. Photo: Foodscape

Michael and the Foodscape Team launched the farm three years ago.  “It’s been an amazing journey from when we planted our first seed in 2021,” says Michael, “we’re so proud of the success of the farm, and the fact that we’re now in our seventh season is testament to the value our concept brings to the Camden community. We’ve created a small piece of paradise in the heart of Camden where people come together to enjoy the many benefits of food growing in their own vertical veg plot. Nothing makes us prouder than seeing our members leave happy and refreshed with a bounty of fresh veggies and leaf. Well, perhaps that’s pipped by when they tell us how fresh and tasty they are. ”

Yes, you read that correctly: the farm grows vertically.  This is the key “to being able to maximise yields in tight urban spaces.”

What can members expect to grow – and then munch on? “We grow around 40 different varieties of vegetables and herbs ranging from mixed leaves – so that members can create their own salad mix – to chillies, courgettes, beans, peas, leeks, broccoli, carrots, and of course tomatoes. We also grow over winter to help feed those hearty soups and stews.”

They’ve even thought of what to do if there’s an abundance: “Members get priority, or we ask them to suggest where we should donate, a particular food bank or charity.”

Harvest time. Photo: Foodscape

So how do the fees work? “You become a member by paying a monthly subscription (see box below),” he says. “For that you get your irrigated plot, the seeds, and the farm is fully managed by our Head Gardener Patrick who helps look after your plot and is there to ensure a successful and bountiful food growing experience. Then you simply choose how involved you want to be. You hear from us through WhatsApp VegAlerts, to let you know when to come in to harvest. Every two weeks you get updates and photos of your veggies to see how they’re growing. We really are with you from seed to harvest.”

They also run an average two member activities a month, a combination of “doing and making”, he says. “So we’ve made radish leaf pesto, cauliflower leaf kimchi, and linguine (see box below), and next month we’re firing up the wood-fired pizza oven for the first of our summer farm socials. It’s not just about food but also improving sustainability. Last month for example, we all made beeswax food wrap to help decrease our dependency on cling film. We’ve had sessions on how to make bug hotels to improve biodiversity, plus seed sow-outs, as well as the chance to adopt a Foodscape baby, where those brave enough get to take some plugs home and nurture them, with full advice provided by us, of course.”

Patty pan squash. Photo: Foodscape

As you’ll gather, it’s not just about growing, it’s about social engagement, a place to learn about horticulture in bite-sized chunks. With the success of the Camden farm, Foodscape are launching more farms across and outside of the capital. But this is the your chance to be involved where it all began.

“Don’t forget,” he adds, “it’s also just a great place to relax. Rochester Square is a natural oasis of calm in buzzy Camden. Bring a coffee, your kids, a friend or a book and simply enjoy a break from the frenzy of city life.”

For membership enquires, head here, mail or call Michael on 07751 438593.

Foodscape: Q&A at a glance

April: an abundance of fresh, leafy greens. Photo: SE

Gardening sounds fun, but I’m a busy person. How can Foodscape help me? They take away the hassle of gardening and leave you with all the joy. When you sign up, you get your own vertical veg plot, and a share of the community garden. From seed to harvest, their gardeners look after your plot. If time is precious, you only really need to participate in harvesting. You’ll receive an alert on WhatsApp, then you can drop by harvest all your delicious organic veggies. If you have more time, you can get more involved to learn about all aspects of gardening – sowing, propagation, planting, crop maintenance, irrigation, and composting.

How much does Foodscape cost? Farm membership is £39 per month. This includes your plot, seeds and maintenance.

How much veg can I get? With your membership, you can harvest ALL the veggies and herbs from your personal farm plot, PLUS you receive your share of the community farm on top.

Foodscape Pasta

What’s on the menu? Your membership gives you the freshest organic veg possible – straight from your plot to your table in minutes.  This season Foodscape are growing over 30 varieties to tantalise the tastebuds including tomatoes (Clemantine, Lizzano and Red Alert), carrots, French breakfast radish, courgettes (including Geode, Kessha the cutest Eight Balls), Mizuna, Purple kale, Rocket, Rainbow chard, Lollo Rossa, Pak Choi and spinach. Plus Cayenne and Ring of Fire (ouch) chillies for those that like a little heat, mangetout, peas, runner beans, and broad beans, sprouting broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage… and more. You can also take home fresh herbs from our herb beds to suit your cooking ideas.

What else do I get with my membership? Your membership also includes:

– Growing masterclasses where you can learn how to grow food in easy, bite size sessions

– Cook up a storm with farm-to-table and zero waste cooking

– Get creative at fun, sustainable crafts and “making” activities

– Relax and unwind at members meet-ups and socials

For membership enquires, head here, mail or call Michael on 07751 438593. Follow @foodscape_grow on Instagram.

This is a sponsored post in association with Foodscape. If you’re a business wanting to reach thousands of North and East Londoners, please email

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