Just under a third of London's total area is either green space or water – so why don't we use more of it to grow our own food?
As urban populations rocket, so do food prices: productivity though British farming has been in decline for some years and there has been a call to arms for a reinvigoration of local farming.
A troupe of volunteers, led by staff from Whitelaw Turkington landscape architects, will carry hundreds of runner bean plants from the 'gateways' into the Waterloo area to the South Bank, to become part of the Festival's Bankside Urban Forest.
The gateways are the different entry points to Waterloo, for those arriving by rail, bus, boat or bicycle. The bean carriers will stop by each gateway, creating a temporary 'green' installation with their beans, and providing a FRESH and unusual welcome for new arrivals.
"We want to give visitors to the city the green carpet treatment", says Tim Spain, one of the FRESH Welcome coordinators at Whitelaw Turkington. "It's about welcoming people to the area with food as you might in your own home. The idea is to turn gateways into our cities into urban food production centres, making the city a living, breathing, working 'farm'. We could radically improve on the whole notion of 'convenience food' by encouraging people to think about growing their own on their doorstep, window sill, wall or roof: the 'grow-in' rather than the 'takeaway'."
"FRESH Welcome is partly a wake-up call for city dwellers, chiming with the Mayor's Capital Growth scheme to bring more food production into London", says Lindsey Whitelaw of Whitelaw Turkington.
"Our urban landscapes need to work for us on many levels, environmentally, ecologically and socially. We are celebrating a FRESH perspective by introducing the notion of very simple planting that will not only feed our urban population, but make the city a more sustainable place in which to live."
FRESH Welcome will start at 11am at the corner of Waterloo Road and The Cut.
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