Amid the concrete and the noise it can be easy to forget about our city’s potential for growing healthy and sustainable food, which is why the Capital Growth campaign wants to reconnect us urban folk with our food and environment.
As our regular readers will know, the campaign – run in partnership by London Food Link, the Mayor of London and the Big Lottery’s Local Food Fund – aims to create 2,012 new growing plots in London by 2012. At the end of June, it launched the ‘Edible Estates’ competition to find the best community food-growing projects on London’s housing estates, with prizes such as a £250 B&Q gift card, a tool set from Bulldog Tools, a worm café from Wiggly Wigglers and places on the Capital Growth training programme.
“We know from people in estates who are already growing that it can reap huge benefits,” Rosie Boycott, chair of London Food, said of the competition. An example is the Metropolitan Housing Association, one of the first organisations to sign up to the Capital Growth campaign with a pledge to identify 20 plots for its residents. Impressively, it already has five spaces up and running.
And it’s not just about food. Alongside the lettuces and tomatoes grows a sense of community and satisfaction, as well as pride. Many areas which were once troubled by anti-social behaviour and neglect have experienced a positive change thanks to their gardens.
With some London boroughs facing 40-year waiting lists for allotments, there is no better time to take matters into our own green-fingered hands. So the next time you pass an abandoned space, don’t ignore it – you could transform it into an abundant growing plot in no time.
The Capital Growth team will be highlighting the many benefits of food growing in housing estates, such as health, inclusion and sustainable development, at the Edible Estates conference, taking place on 19 October. www.capitalgrowth.org/edibleestates/conference
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