Michael Dees finds out about some London food-growers that are already feeling the festive spirit…in their gardens.
Ever wondered how many miles your Christmas dinner traveled before it reached the table? A plate of frozen turkey from Brazil, baby carrots from South Africa, green beans from Egypt and chestnuts from Spain could have racked up tens of thousands of miles.
This is not news to the many Londoners who are not only growing their own Christmas dinner this year, but also creating gifts such as chutneys, honey, sloe gin, wine, and cider. Rachel Dethample (pictured), who runs a Capital Growth space in Crystal Palace, is one such: “I wanted to grow the entire dinner – including spices and wheat for mince pies. The idea was to challenge the way I source food and to see how self-sufficient one could be in an urban setting.” This idea inspired Rachel’s space, which contains a host of foods such as cobnut trees, currants, berries, peas and beans, as well as herbs that locals can forage for, instead of going to the supermarket.
In September, Capital Growth organised a sell-out ‘Pop up Pickle!’ course, for growers to learn how to preserve the fruits of their labour. Chefs from The Table Café in Southwark demonstrated how to make chutneys and jams from London-grown produce.
For any Londoners who are similarly inspired and want to grow their own dinner or presents for next year, now is the perfect time to start planning, says Capital Growth’s Seb Mayfield. “There are growing spaces all over the city, so wherever you live there’s bound to be one nearby to get involved with.” If you already run or are trying to set up a food-growing space and just need a bit of support, the Campaign also has training sites, and runs workshops and talks in urban food-growing, and networking events for like-minded people to meet share ideas.”
To find a food growing space near you or to register your own garden visit www.capitalgrowth.org.
By Tom Moggach from City Leaf.
City Leaf provides expert food growing training to groups and schools. For more information, call 020 7485 9262 or email email@example.com.
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