Page last updated at 12:59 GMT, Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Londoners urged to grow own food

Fruit and vegetables
The mayor said the scheme would make London "more pleasant"

Londoners are being encouraged grow their own food as part of a new campaign by the mayor of London.

Boris Johnson's Capital Growth scheme will give financial and practical help to groups to grow their own produce.

Organisations like councils, schools, hospitals, housing estates and parks are expected to open up their land for the initiative.

The campaign aims to transform 2,012 pieces of land in the city suitable for growing food by 2012.

Residents in Blenheim Gardens in Brixton, south London, are among the first group to pledge their support for the move.

The estate will see food being grown on flat roofs and balconies and on communal land.

Bonnie Hewson, who lives on the estate said: "Residents on my estate are very excited about Capital Growth.

Everyone from children to older people will be growing more of their own fresh food
Bonnie Hewson, Brixton resident
"Everyone from children to older people will be growing more of their own fresh food."

Architects of the scheme said boosting the amount of locally grown food made economic sense at a time of rising food prices.

It also had a range of health and environmental benefits, such as improving access to nutritious food in urban areas and helping to increase flood protection, said London's mayor Boris Johnson.

"It will help to make London a greener, more pleasant place to live whilst providing healthy and affordable food," he said.

The London Development Agency is funding the pilot scheme at a cost of 87,000 until March 2009.

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