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Food project launched in community boost bid

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 16, 2014

Robert Pearson

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A COUNCILLOR is looking to kick-start a food project that will provide a ‘much needed community boost’ to a South Derbyshire village.

Robert Pearson, who represents the Midway Ward on South Derbyshire District Council, has called for residents of Midway to come forward with ideas for spaces that would be used for community food growing projects.

The up-and-coming councillor issued the plea in a bid to improve mental health and wellbeing, increase the levels of physical activity and open up access to healthy food.

He said: “Community food growing involves local communities cultivating unused areas of land to grow fruit and vegetables, and also to gain wider social and environmental benefits.

“Land may be used on either a permanent or a temporary basis and can vary greatly in size from a few square metres to several hectares.”

“Community food growing projects have been successfully operating in some of our larger cities for a number of years, with most starting because an area of land is derelict or underused.

“I’m particularly interested in finding out from residents areas that we could use on a temporary or permanent basis, such waste ground and derelict sites, communal land on housing estates and land awaiting development.”

Councillor Pearson backed up his call by highlighting a report from Sustain, the Alliance for Better Food and Farming, who published a report in early April highlighting the benefits of community food growing.

He added: “As the report makes clear, this is not just about food. Benefits attributed to community food growing include tackling other aspects of urban life that get a bad press, such as higher levels of social isolation, a lack of contact with nature and the number of eyesore derelict sites in some areas.

“If you are a resident of Midway and are interested in getting involved get in contact with me via email at robert.pearson@south-derbys.gov.uk or by calling 01283 208346.

“I’m particularly interested in discovering waste ground and derelict sites that could be put to good use in this way.”

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