Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events has appointed Ben Dell to the new role of market gardener at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE).
Dell, who has worked at RBGE for almost 10 years, helped set up the Edible Garden project, which aims to create a sustainable supply of home-grown produce.
He will oversee the development of the garden to provide Sodexo chefs with vegetables for the John Hope Gateway restaurant, Terrace Café and the staff canteen.
Supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery, the Edible Garden project is also an educational initiative, which holds 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 a variety of herbs and vegetables such as, leeks, lettuce, beetroot, Brussel sprouts and kale.
Dell will work closely with Sodexo head chef Ben Harrison and will be assisted by three volunteers to ensure a steady supply of fresh ingredients for seasonal menus.
(R-to-L) Gardener Ben Dell, chef Ben Harrison and project manager Jenny Foukles
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, added: "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."
Sodexo has been working with Edinburgh's botanic gardens since 2007 and secured a contract extension for a further seven years in November 2015 in a deal worth £21m.
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