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19.06.2009 09:18 Age: 6 yrs
Category: food

Kitchen Garden at Doddington Hall

More than 50 per cent of the global population lives in urban areas and is dependent on sophisticated supply chains to bring the food stuffs into markets and shops. In our western societies almost all food is available independently of  the seasons. Whilst this creates jobs globally and helps communities to develop, it also puts pressure on our resources.

In the middle ages the monasteries maintained gardens to guarantee food supplies, but they were also places of research and modern pharmacy, botany and plant breeding can be traced back to these gardens. With the decline of the monasteries, family estates and farms built on this tradition. Communities were dependent on their local produce and a bad harvest could lead to disaster. In many parts of the world this is still the case.  

With the arrival of modern cooling and transportation systems, food  had no longer to be grown locally and seasonally and kitchen gardens went into decline. Over the last years, however, they have been experiencing a renaissance.

After years of decline Doddington Hall - just outside Lincoln -  has resurrected the huge walled Kitchen Garden and brought it back into production. With the help of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and lots of extraordinarily hard work from a team of staff and volunteers, the 1.9 acre garden has been restored to its former glory and is now crammed full of fascinating varieties of fruit and vegetable for all seasons. It is managed along organic lines and uses the best of traditional methods such as double-digging alongside modern techniques of bio-control.

Two local schools have plots in the kitchen garden and a special school visit focusing on vegetables, healthy eating, local production and organic techniques is being piloted. All the produce from the garden goes straight to the Doddington Farm Shop and Café where it is sold to customers and used to create delicious seasonal meals ? all with zero food miles.

Doddington Hall is family owned and managed. It has never been sold since it was built in 1695. Since 2005 Claire and James Birch have been carefully developing the estate along sustainable principles and have created a vibrant local centre and jobs for the local community. The project is supported by DEFRA, National Lottery Funds and funding from the EU. The food in the Farm Shop and Café is excellent, and the Team has already won numerous awards.