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BOTANY BAY learning session with Lokandes at the Garden Museum


Chiswick House, schools and communities

Culture meets Horticulture

BOTANY BAY is a Participation and Learning project, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.  The project makes use of the migration histories of plants and crops, and their Indigenous cultural heritage in relation to ecology and reciprocity, as a way to stimulate young people to explore new ways of living.  The Covid-19 pandemic and the climate crisis have made a re-assessment and recalibration of human relationships to the non-human an urgent necessity, and young people have to be at the heart of this process, forging a future for humanity and the planet.

The project is evolving through a series of engagements with Indigenous thinkers and activists, exploring questions like:

  • How can ecologically sustainable spaces be created within urban environments?
  • How can food be cultivated in a sustainable and reciprocal way, which honours the plants and the Earth?
  • What plants can and should be grown in a sustainable garden, and how can they be prepared nutritiously and respectfully?
  • What is the role of planning, art and artefacts within cultivated green spaces?
  • How can ceremony and / or performance in green spaces help us to engage more deeply with the natural world?
  • What are the politics of food sovereignty and sustainable food production?

Each topic serves to generate learning materials which are posted on this site, encouraging people to create sustainable gardens following Indigenous practices.  The latter part of the project will see participants cultivating the plants they have chosen in the space they have created and curated, harvesting them, cooking with them, feeding their friends and families, and engaging the wider community in the meaning of these gardens through performances, photography and writing.

Bringing people together around these important ideas will help advance our shared efforts on behalf of land and people. I’m grateful for your work; we are all called to acts of reciprocity with the living world and I’m glad we’re in this together.  - Robin Wall Kimmerer (Potawatomi), author of Braiding Sweetgrass.

Click here for the BOTANY BAY Project Booklet.

Click here to access BOTANY BAY Learning Materials.

Heritage partners include:

Education partners include


National Lottery Heritage Fund