The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation are joining forces on an innovative community-focused programme which will create three new sustainable green spaces in the heart of the town.
It is hoped that the project will ultimately be used as a model for how communities, especially those in low-income areas, can best utilise their public green space for food production and to create affordable and attractive areas, which are a benefit to local wildlife as well as the community.
The initial stage will be delivered over the next year by both the RHS and Heritage Foundation, a charitable organisation which manages the Letchworth Garden City estate.
RHS Head of Regional Development, Andrea Van-Sittart said ?This is such an exciting project and a great opportunity to work with the Heritage Foundation to build support for community gardening groups and volunteers, such as RHS Britain in Bloom volunteers and local schools, through to creating the gardens and providing training in the form of educational seminars.
?As the world?s leading horticultural charity, one of our key aims is to reach out and support grassroots gardening here in the UK and although this is still at a very early stage, we hope that we can apply some of our knowledge and resources to make the Letchworth programme a great success.?
John Lewis, Chief Executive of the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation said: ?This is an exciting partnership which will look to deliver beautiful gardens at the heart of Letchworth Garden City?s town centre and lead to a range of projects to promote sustainable gardening in our community.?
The project will involve the creation of three new gardens including an allotment to demonstrate low-cost gardening, a biodiversity garden, with a focus on encouraging wildlife, and a sustainable garden where the emphasis will be on organic, pesticide and herbicide-free gardening. The gardens will include a number of information boards to supplement the learning and educational elements of the project.
Letchworth Garden City, an eight square mile area in North Hertfordshire, has a relatively high proportion of social housing (33%) compared with the national average of 19%. Part of the original concept of Garden City was creating a community that feeds itself and this aim has been reinvigorated through a growing demand to be self-sufficient due to increased awareness of issues like the distance food travels, the cost of food and the use of chemicals in global food production.