Date of release: Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Living WallsStrawberries, herbs and organic vegetables are among the tasty treats growing on a "living wall" set up by the University of Greenwich.

The wall is the result of a partnership between the university and Glyndon Community Group in Plumstead. Glyndon Community Centre's wall was planted in June in the French kitchen style, known as "potager", where there is a mix of edible and decorative plants. The wall uses solar power to pump rainwater, which is collected in its integrated reservoir, around the plants.

Shelley Mosco, a lecturer from the university's School of Architecture, Design & Construction, has been involved with the project from the beginning. She says: "The wall has already become a big hit with volunteers of all ages who maintain it.

"We now want to assess the range of plants that can be grown successfully for their nutritional and economic value. We also want to establish the wall's usefulness to people with mobility issues who may have difficulty in accessing horizontal gardens.

"In high density areas, land is often unsuitable for food production and the lack of space on which to produce food is also an issue. Combined with the rising cost of living, and fresh produce generally, these areas may also be associated with those who can least afford fresh, healthy food. Living walls can provide quality, fresh food to people who might not otherwise get it."

Living walls are a new and emerging technology. There are a number of types which are used mainly for decorative purposes. Some are currently being investigated as part of environmental systems to mitigate air pollution and to provide effective building insulation and as part of Sustainable Urban Drainage System strategies.

The university's Sustainable Landscapes Research Group is part of the School of Architecture, Design & Construction. It is involved in green cities research which includes urban agriculture, living walls and green roofs.

Greenwich is also planning to incorporate a number of living wall systems as part of its new £76 million development at Stockwell Street in Greenwich town centre.

Story by Public RelationsPicture: Shelley Mosco with pupils from Foxfield Primary School, Woolwich, at Glyndon Community Centre's "living wall".