A new project which will see communities working together to grow food across Leeds is to be officially launched in the city this week.
The project entitled ‘Feed Leeds’ aims to bring individuals, groups and organisations together to promote and support food growing in the city for social, economic, environmental and health benefits.
Leeds City Council is co-ordinating the network, bringing together local community groups, landowners, food outlets and schools to develop projects to grow communal food. Businesses are also being encouraged to get involved as sponsors, as well as providing discounts on gardening equipment and materials in addition to corporate volunteer support.
The network will be formally launched at Shine in Harehills from 10am on Thursday with discussions and guest speakers headed by Dr Chiara Tornaghi of the University of Leeds, who co-ordinates Urban Food Justice, a research project on urban agriculture which is a partner of Feed Leeds.
Dr Chiara Tornaghi said:
“In coming months Feed Leeds will be supported by Urban Food Justice through workshops funded by the Economic and Social Research Council to address the main obstacles to food growing. We will be making a map of available land in Leeds for growing, learning how to rehabilitate urban soil, exploring how to design edible landscapes, and much more. This is just the beginning!”
The afternoon session of the launch will see a new orchard being planted in nearby Potternewton Park at 2pm with food growing group ‘New Shoots’, who are based at the local school Bracken Edge Primary. The event will then conclude with a tour of Chapeltown’s community gardens.
Leeds City Council will support the network by providing advice and materials from the parks and countryside service’s Red Hall nursery, bringing more land into potential use for food growing, and supporting ‘In Bloom’, ‘Friends of’ and other community groups to create edible flowerbeds in parks and elsewhere.
As well as improving community cohesion, it is hoped the network will also offer health benefits in terms of encouraging people to follow healthier lifestyles and balanced diets, and improving the environment by bringing unused land into use and promoting sustainable food sources.
Leeds City Council executive member for the environment Councillor Mark Dobson said:
“Feed Leeds is a fantastic idea and we have already had lots of groups and partners getting involved which is great to see. Creating such a network will hopefully bring communities together and offer a wide range of benefits in health and the environment plus education and training opportunities so it has the potential to be a huge success. We are keen to involve as many people as possible to make that happen.”
Feed Leeds partners include: Leeds City Council, Leeds Urban Harvest, Permaculture Association UK, St. Mary’s Gardening Group, TCV, The University of Leeds, NHS Leeds, Leeds Metropolitan University, Roundhay Environmental Action Partnership, Groundwork, Edible Cities, Edible Public Space, Leeds Markets, Back2Front and The Urbal Fix.
For more information on Feed Leeds, contact Emma Trickett at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the project website at www.feedleeds.org
For more information on Urban Food Justice visit the website at www.urbanfoodjustice.org
For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Senior communications officer,
Leeds City Council, Tel 0113 247 5472