Worthing Goes Tomatoes! – tapping into town’s horticultural history

Worthing was once the tomato capital of the world and volunteers are tapping into that history for a new project encouraging people to grow their own vegetables.

Worthing Care for the Earth, a group which raises awareness of various environmental issues, will be launching Worthing Goes Tomatoes as its main project for 2020, to inspire people to nurture their own crops.

Winnie Catchpole, chairman, said: “Worthing used to be known across the world for producing the most delicious tomatoes. The project aims to reclaim this title once again and put Worthing back on the map as home of the tomato.

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“”There is loads of planning to do, as we have hardly started yet, but we have been successful in a funding application from Sussex Community Foundation, which has awarded us £2,800 for the project.”

Winnie Catchpole, chairman, with Richard and May Whittington from Worthing Care for the Earth

The launch event will be held at Care for Veterans, in Boundary Road, on Saturday, March 7, at 2pm, when experts will talk about Worthing’s tomato history and explain how to grow tomatoes. Free plants will be available for people to take home and nurture.

Winnie said: “Growing your own tomatoes helps save the environment and there is the thrill of growing and eating your own free produce. The taste is much better than shop-bought tomatoes.

“Care for Veterans will be growing 200 seedling for us, which we will be paying for out of the project funding.

“The project will be to get as many local people engaged as possible, growing their own tomatoes, even if it is just one plant in a porch.”

Gardening workshops will be running from spring to autumn and a Worthing Goes Tomatoes event is being planned at Broadwater Parish Centre on July 11, using Worthing tomatoes in Indian, Italian and Chinese tomato dishes.

Winnie said: “Obviously, there is not going to be acres of greenhouses again but we have a vision to get people interested in growing more of their own food in general, as it results in less packaging, less transportation, a healthier diet and the great satisfaction of having grown something yourself.”

The project will end with a celebration at Care for Veterans in September, with videos, photographs, tastings and prizegiving, crowning the king and queen of the Worthing tomato.

Visit www.facebook.com/groups/WCFTE for more information.