Churches encouraged to grow own produce

The Church of England is encouraging its member churches to take part in the Eden Project’s Big Lunch event this summer by growing their own produce.

The Big Lunch is being held nationwide on July 19 to stimulate a new sense of neighbourhood across the nation and help communities make the most of what they have on their own doorstep.

The Church of England’s National Rural Officer, Dr Jill Hopkinson, said the Big Lunch was an opportunity for churches to celebrate with their communities.

"The rural church has always been deeply involved in its local community and this is a great way to show it,” she said. “The Big Lunch is an opportunity for rural churches of all denominations to work together to encourage gardeners, support local farmers and food producers and have fun with the whole rural community."

David Shreeve the Church of England's Environment Adviser said: “Many churches already organise parish lunches for their congregations on Sundays.

“The Big Lunch brings the opportunity to extend these and offer a welcome to others in their communities.

“If this can include using church land to produce some of the food then that would be a real bonus.”

Churches that do not have their own land to grow food are still being encouraged to take part by using local produce in their lunches instead.

St Mary The Boltons in Chelsea is just one of many churches getting ready to take part in the big day, with herbs and vegetables already planted for their home grown ‘loaves and fishes’ meal.

The Rev Ruth Lampard associate vicar of St Mary The Boltons said: “We are delighted to support ‘the simple act of community’ objective of the Big Lunch project.

"Through The Boltons Big Lunch we want to reach out to the local community, especially the lonely and isolated, and share good food and sunshine.

"We are aiming for a festival picnic atmosphere, Le déjeuner sur l'herbe.”