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Cornish vegetable home-growing scheme awarded £60,000 in grants

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: October 29, 2010

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A grow-your-own vegetable scheme in Cornwall that helps teach people about where their food comes from has been awarded £60,000 in Lottery and EU grants.

Camel Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) at St Kew Highway near Wadebridge is a co-operative venture that aims to promote local food, reduce food miles and connect people with the land where their food is grown.

The not-for-profit volunteer-led group has received £47,984 from the Big Lottery Fund's Local Food Programme and £12,484 from the East Cornwall Local Action Group (ECLAG), which will help it buy machinery and erect polytunnels in which to grow more delicate vegetables.

Charlotte Barry, chairwoman of Camel Community Supported Agriculture, said: "This financial injection will enable us to move forward and to work with wider groups of people within the rural community in north Cornwall to promote links between fresh, seasonal food, good health and well-being.

"The money will allow us to buy equipment, three large polytunnels and expand in a way that helps people who might not know where their food comes from, and how it is grown, to come here and learn. We are going into partnership with local schools and charities to do this."

Other equipment the money will buy includes a bore hole and water tank, an irrigation system, sheds, a small tractor, horticultural tools and rabbit-proof fencing.

Its Growing Food, Growing People project will offer volunteering, educational and social opportunities for disadvantaged and unemployed people through partnerships with schools, charities and other groups. There will be at least ten educational sessions and more than 100 people will take part in site visits.

ECLAG is part of the Local Action for Rural Communities Programme, a European Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs programme.

Ian Riddle, chairman of ECLAG, said: "This type of project will connect people to the land and promote a healthy lifestyle.

"There is more awareness concerning people 'growing their own' around now, and it will be interesting to see how the community supported agriculture model compares against the more traditional approach such as allotments."

Camel CSA has been running for just under two years. Members from 50 supporting households cultivate vegetables on a two-acre plot for its weekly veg box scheme and buy in additional produce from local growers.

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    Mike Hunt, St Awfull  |  October 30 2010, 1:00PM

    The fact that you actually have to teach people "where food comes from" in the first place is a sad reflection on our education system and parenting today. That Jamie Oliver in america programe when he went into the primary school and held up vegetables and the kids didn't know what they were just shows where standards have slipped.

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    youngcornwall, uk  |  October 29 2010, 4:45PM

    This scheme will do very little to help the small struggling shops in the area that sell this kind of produce, this with the supermarkets they may as well shut up shop.