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The Table celebrates 6 months of hyper-local hyper-fresh produce

A Southwark Street restaurant has served up 100 kilograms of locally grown salad and vegetables in the past six months thanks to a partnership with St Mungo's community gardening programme Putting Down Roots.

The Table celebrates 6 months of hyper-local hyper-fresh produce
Shaun Alpine-Crabtree (centre) chef proprietor of The Table Cafe in Southwark receives a delivery of fresh salad from Ian Kavanagh (left) and Varrel (right)

Salad and vegetables grown at a St Mungo's allotment and at the Melior Street community garden in London Bridge are delivered every week to chefs at The Table in Southwark Street.

Since the start of the partnership six months ago nearly 400 bags or 100kg of salad and seasonal vegetables have been delivered.

The partners are mentored by teams from Capital Growth, a scheme to support 2012 new food growing spaces in London by the end of the year. The scheme is a partnership initiative between London Food Link, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and the Big Lottery's Local Food programme.

"I was curious about the scheme and wondered if there were growing spaces close enough to meet demand," explains Shaun Alpine-Crabtree of The Table.

"I needn't have worried. We were delighted when Ian turned up with the first delivery of fresh, local veg and the relationship has just grown and grown. I can see firsthand how St Mungo's is helping the community and we get deliveries of hyper-fresh food, cut and delivered within two hours. It's seventh heaven for a chef."

Ian Kavanagh, St Mungo's gardener trainer, said: "Putting Down Roots has been working with homeless men and women in London for over ten years. The programme helps people to develop skills, learn something new and perhaps move into further training or employment.

"This partnership has given us new focus and a new challenge. With the help of Capital Growth, we are learning more about how to be more efficient with our growing and also now know what crops will be in demand."

Putting Down Roots is a gardening volunteer programme for people with experience of homelessness. Each week, around 50 volunteers work in hostel grounds, public parks and on St Mungo's own allotment, developing gardening skills, growing organic vegetables and carrying out hard landscaping and building projects.

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