Once upon a time the Kings Cross area was better known for wasted winos than it was for wine. It’s an indication of how things have changed to discover that vines are about to be planted here.

An old piece of wasteland just behind Kings Cross could soon be producing Britain’s next breed of wine, but more importantly it is hoped it will encourage others in London to follow suit, go green and explore the possibilities of turning wasteland into fantastic food and wine producing areas.

Alara, the muesli producers were the first cereal company in the world to produce certified organic and fairtrade products and have just been named as the first food company in the UK to go zero waste, as well as making a pledge to be carbon neutral by 2010.

Perhaps one of Alara’s proudest achievements however is the creation of a large garden on wasteland behind their factory. After removing over fifty tones of rubbish, with the help of the local community, an incredible organic Permaculture forest garden has emerged (Permaculture is a new method of farming that stratifies food production for maximum yields). Not only has the garden provided a great place for staff and locals to go back to nature in the heart of London, it is also home to over 50 varieties of plants, ranging from pomegranates to aloe vera, along with 3 beehives, a company compost heap, and soon Kings Crosses first vineyard!

Now, having taken advice from the Urban Wine Company, Alara are looking to expand their garden to include a small vineyard on a southerly facing slope on their edge of their land. The vines go in at the end of March and both Alara and the Urban Wine Company hope this could be the beginning of wine revolution within Kings Cross, and across London…

On the back of Alara’s green achievements Alex Smith, the director of Alara, has been made a ‘London Leader of Sustainability’ for 2009. This project, backed by the mayor of London, takes inspirational individuals from all areas of business and gives these ‘London Leaders’ the task of inspiring others to go green.

One of Alex’s projects as London Leader is to turn more wasteland within London into productive green space, and he hopes this will mean many more urban vineyards spring up across the capital.

‘Many people dream of owning vineyards and we hope that by showing people in London it can be done on their doorsteps we’ll see a lot more areas of wasteland within London turning into community vineyards and food producing gardens.” – Alex Smith

Richard Sharp (Urban Wine Company) says ‘Many people think that the UK is a terrible place for grape growing but they couldn’t be more wrong, and there exists a considerable range of both white and red grape varieties that grow well – there is nothing better producing wine through the power of the collective and its community’

Alara Wholefoods invite everyone to attend their Vineyard Planting Day at 11am on Sunday 29th March 2009. All are welcome to come and visit the Permaculture Garden, but even more welcome if you lend a hand in planting twenty grapevines on our South-facing slope.They will be planting primarily Rondo, as this is a good variety for English red wine.

An organic lunch with wine will be provided for all gardeners.

For More information visit www.alara.co.uk