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Alys Fowler champions new urban GYO initiative

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Winterbourne House and Garden

A major new project to encourage city dwellers to grow their own fruit and vegetables is launching in Birmingham tomorrow.

Urban Veg, which is backed by gardener, TV presenter and author Alys Fowler, is aiming to spark a trailblazing food-growing movement in the city, through the creation of a centre of excellence and an extensive online library.

Training and workshops will take place at the Greenacre garden where Gardeners’ World was filmed until 2010 when Monty Don and his Longmeadow garden returned to the show.

It is hoped the project will promote healthy eating and help to tackle obesity problems. “Our cities need local, healthy food that will nourish both us and our environment. In some ways Urban Veg has a very simple concept; that of teaching people to grow good food, but it aims to be much more. The health of our cities depends on how we tackle these issues and I am very excited about this project’s potential,” said Alys.

The initiative, based at Winterbourne House and Garden at the University of Birmingham, will run courses and workshops on topics such as fruit tree care and allotment gardening, train NHS staff to champion food-growing in their Primary Care Trusts and create a library of online resources for both children and adults.

A project taster will be available at a launch event at Winterbourne House and Garden tomorrow. There will be demonstrations, family activities and creative workshops, all based around themes of growing your own. The Royal Society of Chemistry will be talking about remedies that can be gathered from the veg or herb patch while the resident bee keeper will be showing off the garden’s hives.

Visitors will also have a chance to suggest courses they would like to see at the centre which will include a mix of one-day workshops, weekend courses and evening classes.

The launch event runs from 2pm to 9pm tomorrow at Winterbourne House and Garden at the University of Birmingham. No booking is required and entry to the heritage attraction is free alongside admission to the event at Urban Veg. For further information visit www.winterbourne.org.uk, follow Urban Veg on twitter @UrbanVegWHG or email urbanveg@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

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