Food Banks Barge Ahead
10 Mar 2009
Potatoes, runner beans and carrots will very soon become a regular feature of London’s canals and rivers.
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Potatoes, runner beans and carrots will very soon become a regular feature of London’s canals and rivers. In February, Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and Rosie Boycott, Chair of London Food, welcomed British Waterways on board the Capital Growth project.
Capital Growth are working towards better food and farming to enhance the health, welfare and environment of the city. They identify suitable patches of land and offer groups and enthusiastic gardeners the opportunity to grow food for themselves or their local community.
Under the scheme, 2,012 new growing plots will be allocated across the capital by 2012. Retired work-boats will be converted into floating allotments and any suitable space along canal and reservoir banks transformed, providing gardening opportunities for everyone in even the most built up of areas.
Boris Johnson said: ‘I am thrilled that British Waterways have signed up to Capital Growth. Using currently under-used stretches of landÖ will not only provide local communities with topnotch healthy grub but it will also help make our waterways even more vibrant, ex-citing and colourful places to enjoy.’
Providing additional space for locally grown produce in London makes huge economic sense in times of rising food prices, as well as improving the health and general nutrition of urban-dwelling residents. Adapting London’s 100 miles of rivers and canals will also help to in-crease the city’s flood protection.
British Waterway’s Chairman, Tony Hales, explained: If these schemes are successful, then there is no reason why we couldn’t repeat them elsewhere in the UK ñ along the 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in our care, as part of a wider initiative to encourage communities to make greater use of their waterways.’
The first place to trial the project will be a stretch of land along the Hertford Union Canal in Hackney Wick. The area will be tended by Growing Concerns, a community-based gardening and landscaping team dedicated to improving the environment for those living or working in London’s East End. The land will be used to develop a community composting scheme and food planting plot.
Tony Hales, Chair of British Waterways, with Rosie Boycott,
Chair of London Food, on Hertford Union Canal, Hackney Wick, London
Photo: © Stephen McLaren
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