When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Brookes opens up allotments to students
UNIVERSITY students and staff are being encouraged to grow their own fruit and veg on newly created allotments.
Twenty four plots have been created on a piece of land by Oxford Brookes University’s sports hall at its Wheatley campus with students able to sign up for an allotment for just £5 a year.
The university’s Slow Food group has taken two of the plots.
Hospitality student James Green, 24, who last month set up the movement to promote locally-grown organic produce, said: “The more I looked around, the more I felt we needed to do something to change the way food gets to the table.
“We are in danger of messing up all of our food systems by over fishing, or by the way meat ends up in supermarkets and fast food restaurants.
“Our ambition is that one day, all the food served in the Oxford Brookes restaurant could be grown organically in Slow Food allotments.
“This is a start.”
The group has set up a rota of volunteers to tend its plots. The plots have been split into four beds to allow crop rotation, and winter vegetables have already been planted, along with spring beans, garlic and onions.
Mr Green said: “This is a chance to prove that students can organise themselves and grow their own food.
“My mum grows a lot of vegetables at home, but I was only ever allowed to weed and not to get near the plants.
“Our head gardener on the plots has done two years at horticultural college, but it is a learning experience for the rest of us.”
A competition will be held next year to judge the Best Brookes Vegetable Plot, with the winner visiting Africa to help set up a kitchen garden being sponsored by the university through charity One Foundation.
The allotments were created by the university’s catering contractor Chartwells.
Project manager Phillipa Fletcher said: “This project is an exciting addition to Oxford Brookes’ sustainability programme encompassing the values of fresh, seasonal and local produce, grown in an environmentally sustainable way.
“We are delighted to be able to provide the chance for students and staff to be involved in the burgeoning ‘grow-your-own’ movement. It has also given us the opportunity to further support the One Foundation and the positive work they do with some of the poorest communities in Africa.”