Sam Cam rolls up her sleeves to help urban growers in Bethnal Green

SAMANTHA Cameron rolled up her sleeves and prepared to get her hands dirty when she visited a community growing project in Bethnal Green.

The wife of the Prime Minister visited the prize-winning Rocky Park Urban Growers, on the Teesdale and Hollybush estate in Bethnal Green yesterday (Thursday) when she met volunteers who are cultivating a thriving food garden, and helped the team to plant new seedlings.

The community project is part of the Mayor of London’s Capital Growth grow your own scheme launched in 2008.

The Rocky Park Urban Growers have recently been singled out as part of the Edible Estates Capital Growth competition for people living in social housing.

Rock Park volunteer have transformed formally neglected spaces previously plagued by anti-social behaviour by involving around 150 residents in growing fruit and veg.

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Raised beds have been created along with a herb garden and growers have been collecting rain water in butts, composting green waste - nearly everything on site is recycled or salvaged from tips.

Mrs Cameron said: “Capital Growth want to help Londoners transform the capital by creating 2,012 new food growing spaces by the end of 2012.

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“I hope my visit will raise awareness of the initiative and encourage Londoners get involved in making the scheme a reality in their own area.”

The Bethnal Green project took part in Capital Growth’s Edible Estates competition designed to find London’s best housing estate food growing gardeners.

It was runner up in the ‘best estate category’ and was chosen for how it changed life in the estate and how it improved relationships with neighbours.

Rocky Park Urban Grower Margaret Cox: “The plants we are putting in today are funded by our Edible Estate prize. We are delighted with the visit and support, as it will give our new growers a flying start into developing their allotments over the winter months.”

There are Capital Growth sites across London including in schools, on roofs, in skips and alongside canals.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said: “This fantastic project in Bethnal Green shows how communities working together can reclaim unwanted patches of earth and turn them into food growing oases, all the while getting to know their neighbours.”

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