A GROUP of volunteers has set up a new project to encourage local people to grow their own food.

The idea was inspired by a similar project in Yorkshire, in which the community joined together to plant herb gardens, orchards and vegetable plots, using land around their town such as schools, the railway station and fire station.

Incredible Edible North Hampshire hopes to replicate the idea, and encourage people in Basingstoke and the surrounding areas to get involved.

Bob Legg is leading the project and spoke to members of Overton Parish Council on 3 December about his ideas.

He said: “The focus is on food with the emphasis on local food. It has three main focal points – activities that support the community, learning and supporting business.”

He visited the project in Todmorden, Yorkshire, to find out how it works, and said: “They have about 70 raised beds around the town. They have competitions about who can grow the best food.

All the schools are involved and all of the food in public spaces is free to share, anyone can come along and help themselves.”

He said the town also holds food events, with chefs using the locally grown produce to show others how to create dishes, and some of the trees are sold by a garden centre to raise money to fund the project.

The town, which has 15,000 residents, also keeps chickens and bees.

Mr Legg has now launched Incredible Edible in Basingstoke.

He saidd: “You can take from it what you want. No one tells you, ‘you must to do this or that’. It’s inclusive. There are 20 to 30 people interested already.”

The project is still in the early stages but Mr Legg hopes as word of it spreads, more people will become involved and come up with their own ideas.