Nigel Martin, manager of Sheppey Matters, Nicola Waghorne, allotments co-ordinator and Mike Brown, chairman of Sheppey Matters
Many households around the Island will soon be serving dinners prepared with home-grown produce thanks to a £1m green project.
Sustainable Sheppey was launched last year with a grant of £946,275 from the Big Lottery Fund.It aims to inspire people to be more eco-friendly and an allotments scheme was set up as part of it, run by Sheppey Matters.
The 30 plots, which are at Standford Hill prison in Eastchurch, are being looked after by 120 people from across the Island, made up of individuals, families and community groups.
Work began on them around four months ago and produce has already been harvested, including strawberries, broad beans and tomatoes as well as some more exotic vegetables such as kohlrabi which is similar to a turnip and a spinach-like food called callaloo.
The gardeners are now starting to pick the sweetcorn and more potatoes will soon be planted to be ready in time for Christmas dinner.
There’s been 250m of rabbit-proof fencing put up so produce can be grown in the outside pots and in the polytunnels, a watering system is helping keep things healthy in the hot weather.
A greenhouse on the site is having a make-over, being cleared out and cleaned up to get ready for more seed sowing and growing in the new year and an disused flowerbed has been developed into a community garden so the green-fingered residents can show off their sunflowers too.
Project coordinator Nicola Waghorne said: “Our produce has taken several first prizes at the local show – not bad for just 16 weeks of growing.
“There’s been a lot of hard work because it was just an open field when we started so people had to spend a lot of time working on the ground and soil.
“When we cannot be too sure what is being put into pre-packed foods, it’s great to know the hard work put into growing our own produce will provide us with healthy food all year round.”