Allotments plan for wasteland in Hounslow to help pupils learn about food

Unused and unloved lan is to be transformed into allotments  (file picture)
Unused and unloved lan is to be transformed into allotments (file picture)

More than 20 acres of unloved London land will be transformed into allotments to teach children about growing food after the plan won government funding.

Hounslow Council’s Grow for the Future scheme has been awarded £165,000 from the government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

It means unused and unloved council land that is currently being used for fly-tipping or is inaccessible to the public will be transformed into new allotments, community gardens and orchards.

The scheme was designed to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, by allowing more residents to grow their own food, and to provide green space for children to learn about growing food, as well as to tackle the enormous demand for allotments since the pandemic.

It is planned that each new site will be paired with a school so it can be used to help children learn where food comes from, the importance of good nutrition, and how to live healthy lives. It is hoped that the food grown by the schools can be donated to children and their families who are going hungry.

Councillor Salman Shaheen, Cabinet Member for Parking, Parks and Leisure at Hounslow Council, said: “We will take wasteland that has lain empty for years and put it to use equipping our children, and adults, with vital life skills and educating them on biodiversity, sustainability and healthy living.

“I am delighted that the government and the GLA have given their backing to this unique new programme. I hope other councils across the country will be inspired to take unused land and open it up as a common treasury for all people and an educational resource.

“I want to give everyone in urban environments, young and old, so often disconnected from nature, the opportunity to cultivate land they can call their own and understand where our food comes from. To learn, and grow, for their future.”

Hounslow Council expects to be able to ultimately create 500 new spaces for food growing. It plans to complete four new sites per year, with the first ready this summer.

The council also has plans to search for private land that could be leased or purchased by the council and opened up to the public as allotments in the same way.