By Daniel Hunter
InMidTown, the Business Improvement District for Bloomsbury, Holborn and St Giles, has announced the launch of five green roofs across central London businesses, including three organic fruit and vegetable ‘edible’ gardens. This is part of InMidTown’s wider campaign to make the area London’s most sustainable district.
Encompassing a total of 250sqm, three of the roofs will be used to grow organic fruit and vegetables, including tomatoes, courgettes and runner beans, which will be used by participating businesses in staff canteens and for employees to take home, and also available for members of the public to enjoy. The further two roofs will be used to grow wildflowers to support the local bee population as part of InMidTown’s ongoing scheme to install bee hives on local businesses.
“These green roofs are part of our ongoing campaign to make the area between the City and the West End London’s most sustainable," InMidTown CEO, Tass Mavrogordato, said.
"The edibles initiative will help the businesses in Midtown meet their environmental targets whilst providing real business benefits, from reduced energy bills and improved workforce productivity.”
The scheme is currently supported by five major organisations in the area: law firm Olswang, software company Cartesian and the Bloomsbury Street Hotel, which are all growing vegetable roof gardens, whilst law firm Mischon de Reya and the Trade Union Congress are growing wildflowers.
As part of its employment agenda to ensure the effective planting, maintenance and harvesting of the green roofs InMidTown is partnering with Camden charity Jobs in Mind. The charity’s Urban Growth programme works with local residents with mental health problems to develop the skills and confidence needed to get back into employment.
Ian Ganessingh, co-ordinator of the Urban Growth project at Jobs in Mind, says: “Jobs in Mind is the ideal fit for InMidTown, as a crucial area of the charity’s work is boosting employment prospects for its members. InMidTown provides a bridge between us and over 600 businesses, ranging from independent retailers to global firms.”
Jason Cousins, Premises and Facilities Director at Olswang, said: “This scheme has helped us demonstrate that businesses can make a difference to the local area, environment and employees. The gardens not only provide a nice environment for employees and clients to meet or relax, but we are also using run off rainwater to irrigate the gardens and provide a source of pollen for our already established bee population at Olswang.”
InMidtown has invested £37,500 in the project, which has also been part-funded by a £15,000 grant from the Greater London Authority and Drain London, as a result of the Mayor’s focus on ‘Greening London’s’ grey spaces to make London recognised as a world leader in improving the environment locally and globally.
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