The School of Oriental and African Studies was one of the first Universities to join the Capital Growth campaign to create 2012 new food growing spaces by 2012. Its Good Food Society aims to introduce students to sustainable food, raise awareness of where food comes from, how it is produced and how it is used,and food growing is one of the main activities.
In 2008, a group of students got permission to turn a littered and overgrown piece of land into an edible garden. A grant from Capital Growth funded top soil, seeds, plants and tools, and open days on Saturdays were held for volunteers to help out in return for a share of the harvest. They now intend to expand the growing space to include a small forest garden, a soft fruit cage and on-site water harvesting.
SOAS is just one of a number of universities that have taken up the spade in the past few years, with other food-growing spaces at Roehampton, Birkbeck, LSE, Westminster, City and UCL. Now schools, nurseries, colleges and universities could win a range of prizes including tools, raised beds, fruit trees, seeds and gift cards as part of Capital Growth’s ABSeed competition.
There is even the opportunity for two people from secondary schools or universities to spend a day shadowing top chefs at Fifteen London, the restaurant founded by Jamie Oliver to instil in staff and apprentices a passion for great food and a respect for the environment.
One of the winners of last year’s competition, which was open to primary schools, was South Haringey Infant School where pupils created a bug hotel to encourage insects. “This project has demonstrated how much can be achieved in a garden and provides an engaging and healthy environment for pupils who may not have access to the outdoors at home,” says headteacher Raj Rotbcha. “They also got to taste the delicious produce, with enough potatoes being harvested to feed all of the 180 pupils.”
To register for the competition, visit www.capitalgrowth.org/abseed or contact Paola Guzman at email@example.com or at 020 7837 1228. The deadline to register is 3 June 2011. Capital Growth is supported by the Mayor of London and the Big Lottery’s Local Food Fund.
Tom Moggach of City Leaf
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