Page last updated at 23:38 GMT, Wednesday, 23 September 2009 00:38 UK

Canalside mini-allotments offered

Each plot should provide enough seasonal food to feed a small family

More than 2,000 square metres of land beside the Grand Union Canal has been donated by British Waterways as small allotments for first-time gardeners.

The starter plots aim to encourage new allotment holders to start growing their own fruit and vegetables without being daunted by the size of the plot.

The organisation has given the space in west London to the Charity of William Hobbayne for the scheme.

It hopes it will also encourage people to become more involved in the canals.

The area will soon be bursting with all manner of edible goodies
London Mayor Boris Johnson

British Waterways said the 18 new plots were smaller than normal allotments, but should still allow people to grow enough seasonal food to feed a small family.

Leela O'Dea, British Waterways' environment manager, said: "Given the shortage of allotments in London, and the sometimes daunting size of traditional allotments for busy and first-time allotment holders, these starter spaces are an ideal way to maximise the number of people who can have a go at growing their own."

The initiative was welcomed by London Mayor Boris Johnson and his food tsar, Rosie Boycott, who are aiming to create 2,012 new growing spaces in the capital by 2012.

Mr Johnson said: "Not only will the area soon be bursting with all manner of edible goodies, it will help make the waterway even more attractive for local people to enjoy."

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