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Residents to grow fruit and veg at Southwark tube station

London SE1 website team

A brownfield site above Southwark Underground Station is to be leased to local residents to grow fruit and vegetables, Transport for London has announced.

Southwark Tube Station
Southwark Tube Station pictured in 2000

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has launched a 150,000 fund to help Londoners grow their own food in under-used areas of the capital.

He also welcomed Transport for London to the Capital Growth scheme, which is run by London Food Link and has a target to create 2,012 growing spaces by 2012 in discarded patches of land tended by enthusiastic community gardeners.

TfL is the latest sign up to Capital Growth, having provided a brownfield site above Southwark Underground Station which will be leased to local people living nearby to grow a range of fruit and vegetables.

"Lush patches of fruit and veg are springing up around the city thanks to Capital Growth," says Boris Johnson.

"This helps to make our urban environment far more pleasant and provides a cheap, fun way to grow food.

"Transport for London is setting a fine example by joining and I hope other landowners jump on board, freeing up more underused plots of land."

The land at Southwark, while remaining in TfL's ownership, will be tended by green-fingered residents from a nearby block of flats. The fruit and vegetables grown will not be sold for profit but will be used to create delicious food for the local community.

Residents at Styles House have been taking part in Capital Growth for some time, with an impressive vegetable garden already visible to passers-by on Hatfields.

"We support the scheme as we believe that it is a perfect way to improve Londoners' access to nutritious food while maintaining and enhancing London's green spaces," says Howard Collins, chief operating officer of London Underground.

"With more and more people keen to get their hands dirty we hope that plenty of other organisations in London will join us and get growing."

Capital Growth is promoted by London Food, chaired by Rosie Boycott, who said: "It is welcome news that Londoners can now apply for small pots of funding as well as receive practical advice to get their veg plot up and running, helping us to meet our target of 2012 spaces by 2012.

"More and more people are recognising the pleasure of growing your own, and we are providing a package of support to help them do so."

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