New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
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What we learned while creating 2,012 new community food growing spaces in London


We were given 100,000 tomato plants by B&Q to run a ‘flash-grow’ event, giving the plants away on a single day in Trafalgar Square.

A Sustain publication
July 2013


The Capital Growth campaign, based in Sustain, was funded by the Big Lottery’s Local Food Fund and the Mayor of London, following a successful pilot project to help set up 50 new growing spaces. With this money it employed staff and ran a number of grant schemes, competitions and incentives to get new spaces to join the network and help achieve our ambitious 2,012 target. During the four years more than £602,000 of small grants were given out to 943 groups, and five competitions were run, including for schools and housing estates and to celebrate individual achievements. Backed by various sponsors, these competitions helped stimulate media attention and encouraged spaces to share their successful stories.

Capital Growth encouraged groups with land or other potential growing spaces to join the network, rather than finding land and trying to act as a “matchmaker” with groups. To find these groups we promoted the project through a wide variety of channels (see Attracting volunteers). Given the scarcity of land in London people came to Capital Growth with an extraordinary variety of potential growing spaces including children’s nurseries, prisons, roof gardens, floating barges, concrete car parks, and sites awaiting redevelopment as well as unused green space around housing estates and schools. The total area of land covered by the 2,012 Capital Growth food growing spaces is close to 500,000 square metres or 124 acres; the equivalent of 69 Wembley football pitches.

Get the publication here.