London mayor's 'food tsar' launches UCLH gardening club 

20/06/2011 00:00 

A phenomenal response to the UCLH gardening club has seen many staff planting their own fruit and vegetables in the Maple House courtyard.

Green fingered Ram Dubey planting herbs

Green fingered Ram Dubey planting herbs 

Last Friday almost 100 members of staff attended the launch of the gardening club in the newly decked courtyard.  The area was suitably decorated fete style for the event with a number of gazebos offering respite from the inclement weather throughout the afternoon.

Rosie Boycott, chairman of the London food board - an advisory group of independent food policy organisations and experts which oversees the implementation of The Mayor’s Food Strategy - launched the club.  She said: “This is an amazing space where you can grow amazing things.  A garden doesn’t have to be a vast space all you need is a grow bag and you can see a miracle as the seeds come up.”

“What better place than a hospital – all hospitals should have a garden such as this.”

Trevor Payne, director of estates and facilities, said: “A key part of this scheme is to bring staff out of their workplace into the garden where they can meet new people, enjoy the fresh air and hopefully grow some amazing fruit and vegetables to share with their colleagues.”

The grow bags, soil, seeds and equipment were generously sponsored by Interserve.  Staff were provided with everything they needed to get their ‘garden’ off to a good start.

Trevor Payne, Joanne Wilson and Rosie Boycott

Trevor Payne, Joanne Wilson and Rosie Boycott

Ram Dubey, senior financial accountant, said: “I don’t have a garden at home so this is very exciting, it is good exercise and a lot of fun to be involved in.”

Other activities for the gardening club members included a driving simulator that measured how efficiently you drive and fuel consumption and an exercise bike that was connected to a light bulb and an i-pod to see how much energy is needed to power them.  Staff from Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming, were on hand to offer advice and tips.

It is hoped that the excellent response to the gardening club at Maple House will now pave the way for similar schemes at other UCLH sites next year.


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