HERBS have gone into the High Chelmer Shopping Centre flower beds to encourage more people to pick and grow their own fruit and veg.

The plants have been introduced using funding from Edible Essex, which is run by Rural Community Council of Essex.

Also backing the project alongside the centre are Freefood Chelmsford and Chelmsford Council.

Among the herbs growing underneath the venue’s olive trees are thyme, lavender, bay leaves and curry plants along with information about them also on hand.

Centre manager Mick McDonagh said he was delighted to give the herbs a home and believes they will become a welcome addition.

Mr McDonagh said: “The type of herbs we have are quite hardy so will be able to survive conditions in the centre.

“This is not just about enhancing the shopping experience but it is about education as well with the plaques next to the herbs giving a basic explanation about what the plant is.

“It was also leave a lovely aroma once they develop more.”

Linda Mascot, a founder member of Freefood Chelmsford, said this project will help encourage more people to grow their own food and is hopefully similar schemes will appear in the city soon.

Mrs Mascot said: “Last year 2,000 people used the local foodbank and it would be nice to get more people picking and growing their own fresh food.

“Using funding through Edible Essex we are looking to bring other schemes to Chelmsford such as other fruit and veg patches in the city and turning local apples into cider.”

For more information, follow @freefoodchelms on Twitter.