Gardens on rooftops and community vegetable patches have been included in nearly half of plans for new homes in Brighton and Hove.

An innovative move by Brighton and Hove City Council and not-for-profit food policy organisation Food Matters saw new advice being drawn up, encouraging food growing to be part of building schemes.

As a result more than half a hectare of raised beds, roof gardens and dedicated vegetable patches as well as 23 fruit and nut trees were included in approved planning applications in 2011 and 2012.

From only 1 per cent of applications including food growing before the newadvice was drawn up, over the past two years 20 of 53 approved residential developments included it.

Nowthe council’s newplanning advice notice to encourage growing space – the first of its kind in the country – has been shortlisted for two innovation awards.

Francesca Iliffe, sustainability officer at the city council, said: “While few of these developments have been built yet, in a few years we anticipate there will be some excellent case studies for people to visit.”

One of the projects is the development of the former Coop Department store in London Road, Brighton, into student residential halls.

Approved earlier this year, the plans will include an offsite community garden.

A community orchard has been included in plans for The Keep – Brighton's newhistoric archive centre at Woollards Field.

The project, run by city council and East Sussex County Council and managed by Moulsecoomb Forest Garden and Brighton Permaculture Trust, was planted in December.

Council Leader Jason Kitcat said he was delighted to see the scheme getting national recognition as the effects were widespread.

He said: “Food production typically accounts for about a quarter of an individual’s ecological or environmental footprint, so producing food on our doorsteps has the potential to result in a massive reduction in food miles.”

Vic Borrill, director of Brighton and Hove Food Partnership, added: “Who would have thought that planning guidance could taste good?”

It has been shortlisted in The Royal Town Planning Award’s innovation category, which will be announced on July 10.

The project has also been selected as a finalist in the Innovation category of South East Centre for the Built Environment’s Construction Excellence awards, which will be announced on June 20.