Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Rosie Boycott, Chair of London Food, today launched an innovative scheme to turn 2012 pieces of land into thriving green spaces to grow food by 2012. Capital Growth – the first initiative delivered by Rosie Boycott in her capacity as Chair of London Food – aims to identify suitable patches of land around London and offer financial and practical support to groups of enthusiastic gardeners or organisations who want to grow food for themselves and for the local community. Boosting the amount of locally grown food in London makes economic sense at a time of rising food prices, and it also has a range of health and environmental benefits, such as improving access to nutritious food in urban areas and helping to increase flood protection. Boris Johnson said: ‘Linking up currently unloved patches of land with people who want to discover the wonders of growing their own food, delivers massive benefits. It will help to make London a greener, more pleasant place to live whilst providing healthy and affordable food. This will aid people to reconnect with where their fruit and veg comes from and cut the congestion and carbon emissions associated with the transportation of food from miles away. Capital Growth is a win-win scheme – good for our communities and good for our environment.’ Rosie Boycott said: ‘London has a good deal of green spaces – some derelict or underused – but not being used as well as they could be. We also have a veritable host of enthusiastic gardeners who are well equipped to turning derelict or underused spaces into thriving oases offering healthy food and a fantastic focus for the community. Capital Growth will identify spaces across the capital – often in surprising places such as roof gardens – and help London’s communities grow their own food.’ Monty Don, gardening expert and TV presenter, said: ‘Growing your own is the most direct route to delicious, healthy food. It is also immensely satisfying. Anyone can do it, anywhere, and if we all grow a little then together we can make a huge difference to our food supply.