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Veggie burghers 29.06.10

Sutton Council is going veggie - by signing up to a scheme to create thousands of vegetable plots across London. It has joined Mayor of London Boris Johnson's "Capital Growth" plan which aims to grow food on 2,102 patches of land by 2012.

Picture of a vegetable plot

The project wants councils, schools, hospitals and housing estates to identify derelict or underused land that can be turned into allotments to boost the amount of locally-grown food in the capital.

Cllr Colin Hall, Sutton Council's Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change, said: "Sutton is home to some of London's most enthusiastic gardeners and there must be scores of areas across the borough, often in surprising places, where vegetables can be grown.

"It will help people understand where their fruit and veg comes from and cut the congestion and carbon emissions associated with the transportation of food from miles away. Our involvement will make Sutton an even greener, more pleasant place to live."

Sutton has committed to helping identify 60 new food spaces in the borough. To be classified as a new food growing space, the area has to benefit more than five people and be over five square metres.

There are ten London boroughs signed up to the scheme, which has now identified 500 growing spaces across the capital in places including schools, on roofs, in skips and even on a canal boat.

Cllr Hall added:  "We're already part of the 'One Planet Food' project which is helping to make affordable, delicious and nutritious local food more accessible to residents and helping them get fit and healthy through growing their own.

"We also have set up a community farm, teaching allotment, a 'veg van' and are training hundreds of  people about the benefits of food growing and healthy eating - so joining Capital Growth fits in perfectly with our aim of making Sutton London's most sustainable suburb."
The scheme, which was launched by Rosie Boycott, the Chair of London Food and Boris Johnson in November 2008, can offer practical help, training and match land with gardeners.
Johnson said: "Capital Growth has already inspired thousands of Londoners to set up 500 community food gardens providing a practical response to the shortage of allotments in some areas.

"They are discovering the joy of growing their own grub, getting to know neighbours and reclaiming patches of neglected earth. I warmly welcome the landowners who have come on board to help provide the land needed for Capital Growth, including ten borough councils. I call on even more to now rally to our green-fingered cause."

For more information about Capital Growth, contact Sutton Council's biodiversity manager Hendryk Jurk at

Last updated: Thursday, 08 July 2010

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