A fantastic new campaign has been launched in London, aimed at supporting 2,012 new community food growing spaces by the end of 2012.
Capital Growth was launched in November, 2008 by London Food Link, part of Sustain, with the support of the Mayor Boris Johnson, the Mayor’s food advisor Rosie Boycott and many partner organisations.
Nine months in to the campaign and Capital Growth is already supporting over 100 new projects and has received a certificate of commendation from the RHS. The projects being supported include spaces on housing estates and roof-tops, and in Doctors surgeries, a floating allotment and a prison. All of these projects will benefit people in London, enabling access to locally grown, nutritious food, increasing social cohesion and training a whole new generation of Londoners in food growing skills.
The campaign also helps to cater for the large number of people who are on allotment waiting lists in London that are sometimes decades long.
In the first phase of Capital Growth (up to March 2009), supported by the London Development Agency, small grants were offered to new projects. It is planned that more grants will be offered across London later in the year. In the meantime projects can apply to take advantage of all types of in-kind support, to assist people in setting up a project and to support them in the long run. For example a soil contamination expert has offered to visit any projects that need advice on soil testing. The team at Capital Growth are working to develop further support with horticultural and enterprise training, as well as donations of equipment and services from a number of organisations.
Capital Growth has also teamed up with Islington Council, who have launched their Edible Islington programme, focused on supporting new food growing projects in the borough. The small grants part of the programme is being managed by Capital Growth and Islington residents are now able to apply for money to assist them in setting up their own projects: http://www.capitalgrowth.org/grow_food/edibe_islington/.
Capital Growth also continues to work with other local authorities to encourage them to commit to supporting growing projects in their boroughs. Other major landowners are being encouraged to offer their land to community groups.
If you live in London, want to set up a food growing project and have access to some land go to www.capitalgrowth.org/apply to download an application form and accompanying guidance notes.
Article by: Seb Mayfield, Capital Growth
Updated information February 2017:
Capital Growth achieved its target of helping Londoners start 2,012
new community food growing spaces in London in December 2012. The
project has since continued to support food growing in London and is now
open for free membership to people growing food at home, allotments,
work, school, farms or parks. Members enjoy a range of support including
training, networking events, discounts and access to the Harvest-ometer,
an online tool that helps you keep a record of your harvest and how much
it is worth. To learn more and get involved, please visit