London

Crouch End supermarket grows vegetables on its roof

A supermarket in north London has transformed its roof into an organic vegetable garden.

Thornton's Budgens in Crouch End began the Food from the Sky project six weeks ago by planting the first seeds with the help of 20 volunteers.

The not-for-profit project plans to sell the produce from its 450sqm (4,844 sqft) "farm" in the shop below.

There are also plans to hold workshops on growing fruits and vegetables on urban roofs and balconies.

Andrew Thornton, owner of the shop, said the proceeds from the sale of the vegetables would be put back into the garden.

He said: "It's a farm on top of a supermarket. We as a store are very heavily involved in our community and we are very much behind our local food and this is as local as you can get.

"We are hoping that people will take the idea forward and grow their own food in their gardens and allotments."

Azul-Valerie Thome, from the Positive Earth Project, which is collaborating with the store, said the garden had a very low carbon footprint as most items, including composters and planters, had been donated.

She said: "There is a lot of produce waste (in the shop) that we are bringing up to the roof and we are transforming this into compost. We are planning to collect rainwater to water our plants."

Early this month a crane hauled up 10 tonnes of soil, compost, fences, composters, wormeries, boxes and other materials to the roof.

Currently 20 volunteers, aged from three to in their 60s, have been working on the roof garden.

Volunteer Mark Ridsdill said: "I think living in a city it is always busy and bustling. This gives us a chance to come here and grow food and see plants growing. It is a wonderful antidote to city life."

At the end of the seasons seeds from the harvest will be given to customers and local schools free. There are also plans to grow rare British vegetables, like Lilian lettuce, and later the seeds will be collected and distributed.

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