GIRLFRIENDS - MAK GILCHRIST
Mak Gilchrist is a Model, guerilla gardener and co-founder of The Edible Bus Stop, an innovative project that aims to transform neglected sites across London’s transport network into valuable community growing spaces.
FS - Who are you and where are you from?
MG - My name is Mak Gilchrist. I have been a fashion model for 30 years. I am also a community activist that engages in urban interventions with edible foodscapes. I am a born and bred Londoner. And proud of it.
FS - What is your first fashion memory?
MG - Chubby Knees. I grew up in Chelsea just off the King’s Road and remember being eye height to all these chubby knees in mini skirts. Not everyone was Twiggy!
FS - What is the best piece of advice you were ever given?
MG - Don’t breath underwater / You’ll live to regret more what you didn’t do, than what you did do / Wear the highest factor sunblock you can lay your hands on
FS - What item of clothing have you been most faithful to over the years?
MG - Jeans! Different shapes and labels. Right now I’m loving my skinny drainpipes and slim fit APC’s. I also always have at least one tight fitting black polo neck in my cupboard.
FS - Who or what inspires you?
MG - I am inspired by people who are willing to stick their neck out to make a change. Small changes often have the most remarkable and sustainable effect on communities. Anyone who dares think out of the box, look at life and ask questions. People who roll their sleeves up and get on with it. As for fashion inspiration, then Tilda Swinton gets it right for me time and time again.
FS - If you could have been born in another period of history, when would that be and why?
MG - During the Abolitionist period in the 1800’s working with William Wilberforce to abolish the slave trade.
FS - If you were a piece of clothing or an accessory, what would you be and why?
MG - A zip. It pulls things together and keeps them apart when needed. Is quick and easy to use. Wish I had one of those for people.
FS - What is your go-to comfort food?
MG - I don’t have just one. Depends on my mood. But I do find that when in doubt or a crisis BAKE! It really helps me find a sense of order in chaos. Baking is a meditation for me.
FS - What is your favourite place on earth?
MG - If I am with someone I really trust and love and feel secure in their company, that can be anywhere and is my favourite place.
FS - If you had one wish, what would you ask for?
MG - To be able to heal myself of some annoying physical nuisances
FS - The Edible Bus Stop is a fantastic idea, what inspired it?
MG - The Edible Bus Stop (TM) project started life in early 2011 as guerrilla community garden in Stockwell adjacent to a bus stop. Having seen an outline planning notice that would have meant us loosing the one piece of open ground we had in the neighbourhood, I set about researching how to oppose the planning permission and forming the idea to take the land over to garden upon. After lobbying a group neighbors, we fly posted the neighbourhood and in March 2011, 40 people got together and started digging to grow edibles on the rather sad and abandoned public space.
FS – What is the Edible Bus Stop’s mission?
MG - Our mission is to enable the transformation of forgotten and neglected sites across London’s transport network into valuable community growing spaces. Our aims are to create design led edible public growing spaces, which will re-connect communities with growing their own, eating seasonal foods and create urban village greens. By creating local landmarks, we can help to galvanize communities providing opportunities for barriers to be broken down. What makes our gardens different to regular community gardens is that ours are out in the open, and are therefore, theoretically fully inclusive.
Our pop up installation designs are playful, often taking everyday objects, or something that is considered ‘bad news’, and reworking it to create ‘good news’ with a mischievous interpretation. If it doesn’t raise a smile, or a quizzical eyebrow, we haven’t hit the mark.
If you’d like to join our mailing list, please write to info@TheEdibleBusStop.org asking to be kept up to date.