Free Tomato Give-Away to Get Growing

britain growing photo

Photo: B.Alter

The Mayor of London was in Trafalgar Square, giving away free tomato plants. There were 100,000 little seedlings in paper cups, available for the taking by anyone who wandered by.

It was all part of Capital Growth, a scheme to get Londoners growing fruits and vegetables. Their aim is to create 2012 new community food growing spaces across London by the end of 2012.

tomato giveaway photo

Photo: B. Alter
Capital Growth is a partnership initiative between London Food Link, the Mayor of London and the Big Lottery's Local Food Fund. It offers practical help, grants, training and support to groups wanting to establish community food growing projects as well as advice to landowners.

Capital Growth is working with four different communities on creating allotment gardens and community led food growing projects. They offer resources to the local communities so that they can develop their sites. All the projects are in very urban areas where land is at a premium and they are working with the local community in each case.

One scheme in east London has been at it for ten years. They run a local organic vegetable box scheme, farmers market and have organic market gardens.

Another group of volunteers in Regent's Park have developed a garden from scratch, working with a horticultural school.

In the west, they have two sites with a farm and greenhouses. In the south they run the London Wildlife Trust where there are classrooms, meeting spaces and gardens where demonstrations are held.

tomato gives photo

Photo: B. Alter

They run some community competitions as well. One for the estate (subsidized housing development) with the best vegetable gardens and another for the greenest corners every month.

In support of this particular tomato initiative, B & Q (think Home Hardware) donated the plants. As they could: last year they sold 214,000 tomato packs of seeds and 250,000 tomato plants, making tomatoes one of their most popular fruits to grow.

They have their own scheme, called Let's Get Gardening, which is encouraging everyone to start gardening and growing, no matter how large or small the space.

olympic timeclock photo

Photo: B. Alter

For those Olympic fanatics: here is the official Olympic time clock, also in Trafalgar Square, created by Omega and counting down the seconds until the games begin next summer.

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