The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) has announced the appointment of Ben Dell as their new Market Gardener for the Edible Garden. This newly created, position is funded by Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events, the venue’s hospitality and catering partner.
Ben, who has worked at RBGE for close to ten years and helped set up the Edible Garden project, will oversee the development of its vegetable patches with the aim of creating a sustainable supply of home-grown produce for Sodexo’s chefs to use in the John Hope Gateway Restaurant, Terrace Café and the staff canteen.
Supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, The Edible Gardening Project is also an educational initiative holding regular ‘grow your own’ workshops to teach people the skills and knowledge they need to cultivate their own produce.
The south-facing plot, which is nearly an acre in size, is home to an array of herbs and vegetables from staples like, leeks and lettuce to horticulture showstoppers such as beetroot, Brussel sprouts and kale.
Assisted by three volunteers, Ben’s duties will include working closely with Sodexo head chef Ben Harrison to ensure a steady stream of fresh ingredients is available for use on seasonal menus across the Garden’s food offering.
Paul Mitchell, Catering Services Director, Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events, said: “We’re delighted to support the Edible Garden and champion sustainably grown produce. People today care more than ever about the origins of their food with access to fresh, seasonal produce front of mind for many foodies and consumers.
“The added benefit of the project is that it allows us to integrate more closely with the Garden and ensure that dishes our head chef, Ben Harrison develops, complement the Edible Garden programme to deliver fresh, seasonal produce to visitors and staff all year round.”
Jenny Foulkes, Edible Garden Project Manager, RBGE said: “Sodexo’s commitment and belief in the project has allowed us to deliver the next stage of the initiative. Ben brings a wealth of horticultural knowledge and experience to this role and with his help, we will be able to boost production and offer visitors the chance to enjoy fresh, organic seasonal food grown from just a few hundred yards away.”
To find out about events happening in the Edible Garden, please visit www.rbge.org.uk