Edinburgh-based chef Mark Greenaway, who has made appearances on the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen and Great British Menu, is launching the Food Heroes campaign and has made a video at the Cyrenians Community Farm in Edinburgh to encourage people to get involved.
He’s being joined by a host of leading chefs from across the UK, who have each donated a seasonal summer recipe to inspire people to use locally-sourced food grown at a community garden or farm in their area.
Chefs involved in the launch include Skye Gyngell of Spring Restaurant in London; Tom Hunt of Poco Bristol & Broadway Market, London; Richard Carver of Honest Crust/Little Window, Market House, Altrincham; and Oliver Rowe, chef and author.
Launch recipes include Pan Roasted Hake and Mussel Broth from Mark Greenaway, Cima di Rapa Stalk Croquettes from Skye Gyngell, Beetroot Burgers from River Cottage, Baked Apricot Frangipane from Tom Hunt, Caesar Salad from Richard Carver and Pea and Bacon Soup from Oliver Rowe.
Passionate about locally-sourced food and growing initiatives, they are keen to support the work of community growing projects that transform neglected patches of land into oases of nature, where local people can gather, grow and share food, relax and learn.
It is estimated there are more than 2,500 community growing groups in the UK, including city farms, community gardens, community orchards, therapeutic and children’s gardens. Most rely on voluntary support and need more help to thrive.*
Mark Greenaway, owner of Edinburgh’s award-winning Restaurant Mark Greenaway, said: “I think it's incredibly important to support local growing groups like community farms and gardens. As a chef I always want fresh seasonal ingredients and that passion for good food is something that community growers share.
"But they also use good local food as a way of improving their community. I’ve seen first-hand the amazing work that goes on at projects like this - from teaching kids where their food is from to getting people to learn new skills and eat better.
"What all community growing groups need is income and support to continue their work – that why I’m encouraging everyone to become Food Heroes by doing something really simple like joining a veg box scheme or buying produce regularly direct from their nearest community farm or garden.”
Food Heroes is part of a wider Big Lottery funded campaign, called Local Heroes, which inspires individuals and businesses to support community growing groups in their neighbourhoods. Professional gardener and BBC broadcaster Christine Walkden and ITV Love Your Garden’s Katie Rushworth have also thrown their weight behind the campaign.
Heidi Seary, project manager of the Growing Together partnership which is spearheading the Local Heroes campaign, said: “Community growing groups make local neighbourhoods better, healthier and friendlier places and often work with some of the most disadvantaged people in our society too. Growing groups give these people a chance to get out into nature, learn about growing food and work together in a supported, friendly environment.
"We hope our campaign will inspire thousands of people to take action and do something to support the fantastic work of these groups.”
To find out more about how to become a Food Hero, visit the campaign’s Food Heroes page where you can watch the video, download the recipes and find out where your local growing groups are.