Back in May Sarah Milner Simonds, from Burnham on Sea, was a proud torch bearer carrying the Olympic Torch in Dunster Village. Sarah was caught up in a media storm around trying to sell her torch on e-bay to help support community projects. What few people know is that she was nominated for her inspirational work as a community gardener on The People's Plot in West London, part of Capital Growth, which supports new community food growing spaces throughout London.
Sarah, who is also Horticultural Programme Manager at Bridgwater College and a Team Green Britain Hero, said that "the honour of carrying the flame in the medieval village of Dunster is almost overwhelming. To think that the flame has come all the way from Athens and will ignite the cauldron in the Olympic Stadium on 27th July 2012 at the start of The Games is incredible!"
Sarah's work involved working with residents in high density social housing. She would get people out of their homes, meeting their neighbours all through growing fruit and vegetables. They would then tend the crops together, share the produce and Sarah would invite local chefs into the gardens to cook (often outdoors) with the community to encourage people to grow and use locally grown, fresh produce instead of buying cheap ready meals and poor quality food. She did this on disused pieces of land; creating allotments were once people dumped rubbish. She worked in the most deprived areas, where people may be isolated or living with issues such as neighbour disputes or noise and anti-social behaviour. The impact on people's physical and mental well was immense. She brought the first ever allotments in Kensington & Chelsea to fruition and she was described as a "one woman green revolution" by her nominator.
Sarah Williams who works with Capital Growth, was pleased to see someone receive recognition of something that, through community food growing, has benefited so many people. “I hope that this will inspire others to get out there and get involved in one of our growing spaces, or to set up their own, plus a chance to win many more prizes in our Grow For Gold competition, which finishes in September.”
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