Environmentalists at the University of Roehampton celebrated the first major milestone of their £226,900 Growhampton project, with the unveiling of a new café created from two shipping containers.
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The café, near the university’s main entrance is open to the public, and is just one part of the ambitious sustainability project. Other aspects include the use of a large polytunnel and allotments across the campus for growing fresh produce. Some will be used to make meals the café will sell. Thanks to the external funding which comes from the Students’ Green Fund run by the National Union of Students’, a full time worker, Joel Williams, has been recruited to manage the growing of these crops.
The Growhampton project is being delivered by Roehampton Students’ Union in partnership with the University of Roehampton. Future developments will see students encouraged to use areas of the university’s extensive green campus to grow more produce and learn about growing. A bike hire scheme will be launched and the university is working with Wandsworth’s Regenerate organisation to provide environmentally sustainable meals to sell. A website has been created at www.growhampton.com which includes advice about what to grow, how to grow it and the most enjoyable ways to eat the labours of your work.
Wade Tomlinson, Roehampton Students’ Union president, said: “Growhampton will have a direct benefit for staff and students, but also for Roehampton residents through the advice available online and by picking up tips from the café.
“The University of Roehampton has one of the most attractive and green university campuses in London and I’m very pleased we can put it to good use to produce fresh, non-processed food. In some cases the journey from soil to serving is something like 500 yards via a wheelbarrow: we can’t get more environmentally friendly than that.”
Constituency MP Justine Greening, who cut the ribbon to official launch the café, said: “The University of Roehampton has done a brilliant job getting the café off the ground in a really short time, and the fact Regenerate’s Feel Good Bakery is kicking off its business selling sandwiches in the café makes it extra special. I think it’s brilliant that the University of Roehampton and the town are coming together to get this lovely café up and running.”
The café’s tables are made from upcycled scaffolding boards and apple crates. The counter has been created using a large corrugated metal section of one of the containers cut out to create the entrance. Bottle crates are being turned into seats and a mirror has been created from a large wooden cable reel.
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