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.
Rosie Boycott, the Mayor of London’s food adviser, “We are thrilled that Sarah has been given the privileged task of carrying the Olympic torch. Sarah is one of 60,000 growers around London that has helped create over 1700 community food spaces as part of Capital Growth in the last four years, and fully deserves the honour.”
Sarah Williams, Capital Growth, commented: “We are pleased that Sarah has received recognition of something that, in community food growing, has benefited so many people, whether through bringing communities together, improving access to fresh food, or putting pride into a local area by turning it green.
She continued, “We 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, and we currently have £1000 prize for one lucky group registering with us before 18 June, plus a chance to win many more prizes in our Grow For Gold competition, which finishes in September.
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1. Sarah Milner Simonds
Sarah runs the Peoples Plot – and is also Horticultural Programme Manager at Bridgwater College. You can follow Sarah on her twitter page @ThePeoplesPlot, or find out more about her work here:
2. Capital Growth
Capital Growth is a scheme to create 2,012 community food growing spaces by the end of 2012. It has to date supported the creation of over 1700 spaces involving over 60,000 people.
Capital Growth is a partnership initiative between London Food Link, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, and the Big Lottery's Local Food Fund. It's main funder is the Mayor of London with additional funding support from the Local Food programme, a £57.5 million funding programme supported by the Local Food Fund. The programme was awarded a Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Commendation in 2010 for its success in getting communities growing.
3. Grow For Gold
The Capital Growth Grow for Gold competition will be judged later this year and prizes will be awarded to the best gardens in five different categories, Grow for Gold is open to anyone who wants to set up a new food growing project. It is open to any new and existing Capital Growth space.
The categories in the Grow For Gold competition will be:
1. The people's food garden sponsored by EastendHomes, for community food
growing spaces which have brought the community together
2. The enterprise food garden, sponsored by The Seed Pantry, is an award for
community spaces that have shown entreprenual skills by growing and selling
their own produce or other enterprising activities
3. The bee friendly food garden sponsored by The Organic Gardening
Catalogue, will award spaces that encourage wildlife
4. The learning food garden, sponsored by Victoriana nursery, will award
food growing spaces that have been used for educational purposes.
5. The inspiring food garden sponsored by Bulldog Tools, will award creative
and exciting community food growing spaces
4. Team Green Britain
Team Green Britain is a community of people with the shared aim of demonstrating that living a low-carbon life isn’t only possible; it’s usually better. Team green Britain helps these people to make a difference in their communities, provide carbon-cutting and money-saving advice, and give them a platform for sharing their ideas. It is backed by London 2012 and EDF Energy.