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Still Waters

Grow your own vegetables in the local skip

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Gardeners will be able to grow cabbages in skips on building sites and tomatoes in hospital car parks under Government plans to increase the amount of land available for grow-your-own vegetables.

Concern about the environment and the increasing cost of food has led to a resurgence in people wanting to grow their own fruit and vegetables.

The fashion, that harks back to 1970s sitcom The Good Life, has been encouraged by celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver.

However many people do not have access gardens and there are more than 100,000 people currently on waiting lists for allotments.

In some areas people could be on the waiting list for up to 40 years.

To try to solve the problem the Government is setting up a national "Landbank" that will link keen gardeners with public or private land available in their area.

People will be able to tap a postcode into a website and find out where the nearest piece of land is available. Public authorities like schools and hospitals as well as private developers will be asked to provide land that is currently not being used.

The National Trust has already provided more than 300 allotments on its land around stately homes and country parks and is on course to establish 1,000 plots by 2012.

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