Hackney residents encouraged to grow their own

Hackney Council has pledged to support food growing projects across the borough to encourage more residents to grow food locally.

The Council has signed up to help develop up to 60 food growing projects in schools, on estates and in parks - part of the Capital Growth campaign which aims to support 2,012 new community food-growing spaces by the end of 2012.

Community and volunteer groups are encouraged to put themselves forward to Capital Growth. Already this year 50 Hackney sites have signed up - ranging from edible playgrounds to community allotments developed on neglected spaces and derelict land.

Capital Growth offers practical help, training and support to groups wanting to establish community food growing projects as well as advice to landowners. They are also planning another round of small grants for the new year, available to any group running or setting up a community food-growing space in Hackney. In previous rounds grants ranged from £200 to £1,000 and were used to cover costs such as tools, materials or plants.

Hackney residents can also volunteer to help at one of three sites in the Council s parks- Hackney Marshes, Robin Hood in Springfield and Butterfield Green. To find out more or to volunteer contact on 020 8356 4899 or visit

Hackney Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services, Jonathan McShane said: “Growing your own food can be very rewarding. It’s also a great way to teach your children about healthy eating and it can save you money! Be creative when you think about disused open spaces and bits of land near where you live. With a bit work, next year you could be eating food you’ve grown yourself.”

Rosie Boycott, chair of London Food, who spearheads Capital Growth for the Mayor of London said: ”Support for Capital Growth from local councils, like Hackney, is helping to meet the increasing demand for food growing spaces from would-be gardeners. Growing your own grub is a good way to save cash, get regular exercise, beautify an unloved or unused plot of land and get to know your neighbours to boot.”

Hackney Council s pledge is part of the Capital Growth campaign - a partnership initiative between the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, London Food Link, and the Big Lottery s Local Food Fund. There are 600 growing spaces up-and-running across London. To find out more or apply for a grant visit or call 020 7837 1228.