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Ten unemployed to be trained in food growing after Stepney City Farm get lottery funding

PUBLISHED: 13:11 01 June 2012 | UPDATED: 14:47 06 June 2012

Ten unemployed people will be trained in cultivating food after a East End farm has won a £260,000 Big Lottery grant.

Stepney City Farm will be starting up a Local Food Fund scheme next Tuesday after securing the funding aimed at making locally grown food more accessible for residents.

The two-year project will see ten unused spaces around Tower Hamlets picked for growing fruit and vegetables. The areas yet to be chosen could range from private gardens to housing association land.

The ten jobs will be unpaid but trainees can sell the produce they grow at the farm in Stepney Way with the money going to trainees themselves, explained Farm Manager Jessica Hodge.

She said: “Jobs continues to come up at the farm but no jobs are guaranteed at the end of the training. But the skills acquired will help with finding jobs elsewhere.”

Food production is also expected to double on the farm site opening up further volunteering opportunities.

The farm currently has a cafe at the weekends but plans to open up a more permanent cafe, shop and community kitchen for food education classes and use by local groups, as part of the project.

Ms Hodge said: “There’s a huge demand from local people and community groups who want space and training to grow food.

“And Stepney Farm Kitchen will be a place to socialise and meet people in a neighbourhood where these are lacking.”

Three staff have been recruited to run the scheme including project manager Paul Woodmin.

The Local Food scheme has been developed by a consortium of 16 national

environmental organisations, and is managed by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts.

Supported by the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme, Local Food distributes grants to a variety of food related projects.

Anyone interested in one of the trainee positions can contact Paul@stepneycityfarm.org or 0207 7908204 or pop into the farm.

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