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How to set up your own urban agricultural project with a socio

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  Chiara  Tornaghi   How  to  set  up  your  own  urban  agricultural  project  with  a  socio-­‐environmental  justice  perspective  A  guide  for  citizens,  community  groups  and  third  sector  organisations    This  research  project  was  funded  by  the  Economic  and  Social  Research  Council  (Grant  number  RES-­‐000-­‐22-­‐4418)  and  the  University  of  Leeds.     1                        How  to  set  up  your  own  urban  agricultural  project  with  a  socio-­‐environmental  justice  perspective.  A  guide  for  citizens,  community  groups  and  third  sector  organisations   Published  in  2014  by  the  University  of  Leeds,  Woodhouse  Lane,  Leeds  LS2  9JT  Chiara  Tornaghi  ©  University  of  Leeds  The  moral  rights  of  the  author  have  been  asserted.   You  may  share  this  work  for  non-­‐commercial  purposes  only,  provided  you  give  attribution  to  the  author  and  copyright  holder.   To  cite  this  publication:  TORNAGHI  Chiara  (2014),  How  to  set  up  your  own  urban  agricultural  project  with  a  socio-­‐environmental  justice  perspective.  A  guide  for  citizens,  community  groups  and  third  sector  organisations,  Leeds:  The  University  of  Leeds  This  publication  presents  outcomes  of  the  ESRC  funded  research  project:  “Urban  agriculture,  social  cohesion  and  environmental  justice.  An  action-­‐research  project  to  inform  responsive  policy  making”.  The  Urban  Food  Justice  social  platform  on  urban  agriculture  was  established  as  part  of  this  project  with  the  aim  of  supporting  the  consolidation  of  a  local  network  of  growers  (i.e.  Feed  Leeds),  promoting  dialogue  between  grassroots  group  and  policy  makers,  facilitating  learning  and  informing  policy.   A  second  booklet,  specifically  written  for  policy  makers,  is  available  on  the  project  website,  titled  “How  to  support  socially  and  environmentally  just  urban  agriculture  in  your  area.  A  guide  for  policy  makers  in  the  Leeds  city  region”.   2   Acknowledgements   This  booklet  is  one  of  the  outcomes  of  a  research  project  entitled  “Urban  agriculture,  social  cohesion  and  environmental  justice.  An  action-­‐research  project  to  inform  responsive  policy  making”,  funded  by  the  Economic  and  Social  Research  Council  (ESRC).   The  project  has  seen  the  involvement  of  about  80  people  as  project  leaders,  food  growers,  gardeners,  people  seeking  land,  allotment  officers  and  various  policy  makers  who  have  answered  my  questions  and  about  90-­‐100  people  who  took  part  in  the  events  of  the  social  platform  “Urban  food  justice”.  I  would  like  to  thank  them  all,  and  in  particular:   -­‐ Leopold  Cohousing  project  In  Leeds:  -­‐ Lilac  –  Sustainable  Affordable  -­‐ Armley  Mills  Industrial  Museum  –  Living  Colour  Community  Garden  -­‐ Meanwood  Valley  Urban  Farm  -­‐ Back  to  Front   -­‐ Mina  Said  (Foraging  walks)  -­‐ Bardon  Grange   -­‐ Permaculture  Association  UK  -­‐ Bedford  Fields  Community  Forest  -­‐ Rocket  Catering  Garden  -­‐ Skelton  Grange  Environment  -­‐ Bracken  Edge  Primary  School  Centre  gardening  group  “New  Shoots”  -­‐ St  Mary’s  gardening  group  -­‐ Burley  Mills  Allotments  -­‐ TCV  Hollybush  -­‐ Church  Lane  Allotment  Association  -­‐ Transition  City  Leeds  -­‐  Food  group  -­‐ Edible  Cities  “Landshare”  -­‐ Edible  Public  Space  In  Scarborough:  -­‐ Faith  Lodge  -­‐ Yorkshire  Charcoal  -­‐ Federation  of  City  Farms  and  In  Manchester:  Community  Gardens  –  North  East  -­‐ Kindling  Trust  officer  -­‐ Manchester  City  Council  –  Public  -­‐ Feel  good  factor  health  (Food  Futures)  -­‐ Healthy  Living  Network  (Armley)  -­‐ Manchester  Veg  People  -­‐ Hungry  Fungi  In  Birmingham:  -­‐ Hyde  Park  Neighbourhood  Food-­‐
-­‐ Edible  Eastside  Growing  project  -­‐ Federation  of  City  Farms  and  -­‐ Hyde  Park  Source  Community  Gardens  –  Midlands  -­‐ Kirkstall  Community  Garden  officer  -­‐ Leeds  and  District  Allotment  In  London/Greater  London  Gardeners  Federation  -­‐ Farm:  Shop  -­‐ Leeds  City  Council  –  Housing   -­‐ First  UK  Reclaim  the  Fields  -­‐ Leeds  City  Council  –  Parks  and  gathering  Countryside  services  -­‐ Grow  Heathrow  -­‐ Leeds  City  Council  –  Public  Health  -­‐ Sustain  -­‐ Leeds  City  Council  –  Sustainability  In  Glasgow:  Policy  -­‐ Sow  and  grow  everywhere  (SAGE)  -­‐ Leeds  City  Council  –  Urban  design  -­‐ Urban  Roots  and  forward  planning  -­‐ The  concrete  garden  -­‐ Leeds  Permaculture  Network  -­‐ Woodlands  community  garden  -­‐ Leeds  Urban  Harvest   3   In  Brighton:  In  Newcastle:  -­‐ Brighton  and  Hove  Food  -­‐ Ralph  Erskine  Society  -­‐ Comfrey  Project  Partnership  -­‐ Newcastle  city  council  -­‐  Allotment  -­‐ Harvest  officer  -­‐ Grow  your  neighbour’s  own  -­‐ �One  Brighton’  rooftop  garden  -­‐ Newcastle  city  council  –  Food  -­‐ The  Garden  House  strategy  officer  -­‐ Moulsecoomb  Forest  Garden  -­‐ Allotment  Federation  -­‐ Muesli  Hill  Market  -­‐ Scottswood  Community  Forest  garden  -­‐ The  Mound  -­‐ One  Stop   -­‐ Community  Food  Initiative   In  Middlesbrough:  -­‐ Nourish  -­‐ London  Road  Station  gardening  -­‐ Allotment  Officer,  Streetscene  project  Services  In  Wakefield  -­‐ Middlesbrough  Environment  City  -­‐ Street  scene  services  In  Bristol:  In  Stockport  -­‐ Reclaim  the  fields  south  east  -­‐ Department  of  Communities,  gathering  Regeneration  and  Environment  -­‐ Sims  Hill  CSA  In  Bury:   -­‐ Walled  garden  -­‐ Park  and  Countryside  Section  -­‐ East  Side  Station  Community  Garden    I  would  also  like  to  thank  the  members  of  Feed  Leeds  with  whom,  and  for  whom,  this  work  has  been  made,  and  in  particular:  Andy  Goldring,  John  Preston,  Tom  Bliss,  Nigel  Jones,  Niels  Corfield,  Sara-­‐Jane  Mason,  Peter  Tatham,  Sonja  Woodcock,  Simon  Holland,  Emma  Trickett,  Joanne  Clough,  Jon  Andrews,  Jenny  Fisher,  Roxana  Summers,  Emma  Strachan,  Hannah  Kemp,  Cllr  Roger  Harington,  Cllr  Lisa  Mulherin,  Cllr  Bill  Urry,  Cllr  Mark  Dobson,  and  all  the  others  that  I  cannot  mention  in  full.   I  would  like  to  thank  friends  and  colleagues  in  the  Cities  and  Social  Research  Cluster,  who  have  helped  throughout  this  project  from  the  early  stages,  and  my  students  Naomi  Harriott  Brown,  Jo  Bridger,  Luke  Price  and  Rachel  Levine  who  have  contributed  to  this  work  in  various  ways  through  job  placements,  data  collection,  discussions  and  literature  reviews.   I  would  also  like  to  thank  my  partner  James  Shaw,  who  is  the  first  reader  of  everything  I  write,  without  whom  this  work  would  never  see  the  light  of  day.   And  finally  thanks  to  all  the  people  in  Leeds  and  beyond  who  have  participated  in  this  project,  and  are  believing  that  this  is  just  the  beginning  of  a  long  common  work  towards  food  justice.     4   Table  of  content    Acknowledgements  ........................................................................................................................  3  Table  of  content  .............................................................................................................................  5   1.  Introduction  ...............................................................................................................................  6  Gardening,  food  growing,  urban  agriculture  ...............................................................................................................  6  The  justice  and  injustice  of  urban  agriculture  .............................................................................................................  7  Types  of  urban  agricultural  initiatives  .........................................................................................................................  9   2.  Land  access  ..............................................................................................................................  17  Unavailable  land  or  unsuitable  land?  ........................................................................................................................  17  Gardening  motivation  and  land  need:  guidance  for  self-­‐assessment  .......................................................................  17  Size  and  location  of  the  land  .....................................................................................................................................  21  Looking  for  land  in  your  neighbourhood.  Do  you  really  need  to  set  up  a  new  food  growing  project?  .....................  21  Where  to  look  for  land/opportunities  for  growing  food,  and  where  to  find  support  for  land  access  ......................  22  Types  of  land  access  ..................................................................................................................................................  25   3.  Soil  quality  and  urban  metabolism  ..........................................................................................  28  Soil  pollutants,  soil  contamination  and  soil  rehabilitation  ........................................................................................  29  Beyond  soil  constraints  .............................................................................................................................................  32   4.  Edible  landscape,  food  commons,  food  sovereignty  ................................................................  36  Food  sovereignty  and  urban  food  commons  ............................................................................................................  36  Foraging  and  harvesting  ............................................................................................................................................  39   5.  Promoting  community  health  and  cohesion  through  food  growing  ........................................  41  The  challenge  of  health  and  social  service-­‐led  food  growing  projects  ......................................................................  41  Food  growing  volunteering  platform  exchange  ........................................................................................................  42   6.  The  economic  viability  of  urban  agriculture  .............................................................................  44  Definitions:  what  does  �economically  viable’  mean?  ................................................................................................  44  Main  obstacles  to  economic  viability  ........................................................................................................................  45  Food  hubs:  short  food  chains  reshaping  the  local  food  system  and  challenging  food  regimes  ................................  47   7.  The  ethical  dimension  of  urban  agriculture:  building  sustainable  food  systems  and  strategies
 .....................................................................................................................................................  49  Food  systems  .............................................................................................................................................................  49   8.  Conclusions.  From  Urban  Agriculture  to  Urban  food  justice  ....................................................  53  Urban  food  justice  .....................................................................................................................................................  53  A  range  of  (innovative)  options  .................................................................................................................................  55   Suggested  reading  .......................................................................................................................  56  Introductory  readings  ................................................................................................................................................  56  Further  reading:  ........................................................................................................................................................  56      5   1.  Introduction  Gardening,  food  growing,  urban  agriculture  Growing  food  in  cities  is  becoming  more  and  more  popular  in  cities  of  the  Global  North.  Not  only  are  older  generations  of  allotment  holders  still  gardening  happily,  but  also  a  new  wave  of  younger  people  are  seeking  land  in  and  beyond  allotments.  Small,  intensive  urban  farms,  food  production  on  housing  estates,  land  sharing,  rooftop  gardens  and  beehives,  schoolyard  greenhouses,  restaurant-­‐supported  salad  gardens,  public  space  food  production,  guerrilla  gardening,  allotments,  balcony  and  window  sill  vegetable  growing  and  other  initiatives  (Mougeot  2005,  Redwood  2008,  Nordahl  2009,  Hou  et.al.  2009)  are  just  a  few  examples.  This  wide  range  of  initiatives  is  more  and  more  often  referred  to  as  �urban  agriculture’.  Urban  agriculture  (UA)  is  defined  as  the  growing,  processing  and  distribution  of  food  and  other  products  obtained  through  plant  cultivation  and  animal  husbandry  in  and  around  cities  (CFSC  2003),  generally  with  the  aim  of  being  sold  locally  (rather  than  exported).   In  some  cities  urban  agriculture  has  been  recognised  as  important  and  is  supported  by  local  councils  with  specific  policies.  For  example,  they  have  facilitated  the  access  to  land  (for  example  allowing  the  cultivation  of  food  in  public  parks,  urban  greens  or  other  unused  land),  they  have  enabled  the  organisation  of  community  composting  facilities,  they  have  supported  the  commercialisation  of  locally  produced  food  by  changing  procurement  policies  (which  has  created  demand  for  local  producers  and  expanded  their  market)  or  have  designed  sustainable  food  strategies  that  encourage  a  wider  consumption  of  local  food  (i.e.  Bristol,  Brighton,  Manchester,  among  others).    Image  1  –  A  DIY  greenhouse  in  Glasgow  Source:  Author’s  own     6   The  justice  and  injustice  of  urban  agriculture  Food  growing  in  cities  is  generally  regarded  as  positive  for  its  potential  to  strengthen  community  cohesion  and  enhance  mental  health.  To  a  lesser  extent,  it  is  also  appreciated  for  its  contribution  to  raising  awareness  of  environmental  issues,  improving  intake  of  fruit  and  vegetables  and  contributing  to  resilience  to  the  financial  crisis,  enabling  people  to  (at  least  partially)  feed  their  families  with  healthy  food  that  they  can  grow  themselves.  However,  urban  food  growing  has  also  some  potentially  negative  downsides,  which  are  especially  prominent  exactly  because  this  is  becoming  an  increasingly  popular  practice.  In  some  cases,  for  example,  community  gardens  are  part  of  �beautification’  strategies  of  (once)  poor  neighbourhoods,  that  leads  towards  increased  land  value,  �gentrification’  and  ultimately  displacement  of  the  most  disadvantaged  residents.  New  York,  Detroit  and  London  (Hackney)  are  some  examples  of  this  process:  gardening  and  urban  greening  more  in  general,  because  they  are  so  popular,  are  more  and  more  used  as  tools  for  raising  land  values  and  facilitating  redevelopment.  The  middle  and  upper  classes  are  attracted  to  live  in  these  more  appealing  neighbourhoods,  and  create  the  conditions  for  rent  increases  which  might  be  unaffordable  to  many  old/longstanding  residents.  Once  the  land  has  raised  its  value  considerably  and  become  suitable  for  redevelopment,  those  same  community  gardens  that  contributed  to  this  are  often  displaced,  closed  down.  This  is  just  one  of  the  perverse  effects  of  urban  agriculture.  Another  potentially  negative  effect  is  the  risk  that  common  resources  –  in  this  case  public  land  such  as  parks  –  get  appropriated  and  then  privatised  in  the  name  of  facilitating  community  gardening.  While  in  a  time  of  austerity  saving  the  costs  of  managing  public  land  is  seen  as  crucial,  and  many  local  administrations  are  desperately  looking  for  alternatives,  there  has  been  little  exploration  around  forms  of  co-­‐management  that  do  not  alienate  or  reduce  common  goods  and  which  can  still  be  enjoyed  collectively.  Some  food  growing  projects  are  also  being  used  more  as  a  way  of  getting  a  wage  (because  grants  for  these  projects  are  still  relatively  easy  to  find)  while  the  community  aspect,  or  the  extent  to  which  these  projects  actually  produce  anything  or  effectively  share  the  produce  is  not  monitored  and  assessed.   Nonetheless,  urban  agriculture,  in  its  many  forms,  bears  the  potential  to  radically  change  –  positively  -­‐  the  way  we  live.  It  can  provide  a  substantial  amount  of  our  food  (contributing  to  food  sovereignty),  it  can  provide  the  opportunity  to  recycle  more  efficiently  and  live  more  sustainably,  it  can  even  become  a  source  of  energy  (i.e.  community  anaerobic  digesters  where  waste  can  be  composted)  or  of  income  (if  land  is  managed  collectively  as  in  the  case  of  community  interest  companies)  from  the  production  of  local  food.   In  short,  while  this  booklet  will  support  you  in  the  development  of  your  agricultural  project  with  some  practical  tools,  its  main  focus  will  be  on  highlighting  ways  of  envisioning  radically  new  ways  of  living  and  to  warn  you  about  the  risks  of  potentially  negative  effects  and  offer  you  advice  on  how  to  avoid  them.      7   Box:  a  summary  of  potentially  positive  and  negative  effects  of  urban  agriculture  Positive  Negative  Education  about  seasonality  of  food,  which  can  lead  to  more  sustainable  consumption  habits   Soil  rehabilitation  –  bio-­‐  and  myco-­‐
remediation В of В polluted В soils, В increased В soil В fertility В and В biodiversity В Misuse В of В commercially В available В chemicals В as В fertilisers, В insecticides, В herbicides, В whose В traces В in В the В environment В endanger В human В health В Recycling В of В organic В waste В to В keep В nutrients В local В Increased В groundwater В pollution В and В loss В of В soil В nutrients В from В poorly В managed В soils В Increased В community В activity, В physical В exercise В Council В encouragement В to В local В food В growing В as В justification В for В substantial В cuts В in В welfare В services В (public В health В budgets) В Re-­‐education В of В the В taste/palette: В possibility В of В eating В vegetables В not В usually В available В in В the В supermarkets В (i.e. В purple В beans, В heritage В varieties…) В Increased В energy В inputs В (heated В greenhouses) В to В grow В vegetables В unsuitable В for В the В local В climate В Improved В mental В health В and В relations В with В the В local В community В В Poor В management В of В community В gardens, В conflicting В projects, В unequal В sharing В of В produce В Affordability В of В fresh, В organic В food В all В year В round В Increased В rent В of В allotments В due В to В high В demand В (when В food В growing В is В considered В simply В a В leisure В activity В for В the В middle В classes) В Reduced В carbon В footprints В of В food, В when В recycled В materials В are В used, В waste В is В minimised В and В organic В agriculture В is В practiced В Increased В carbon В emissions В for В food В production, В when В gardening В involves В the В use В of В a В number В of В carbon В impacting В things В such В as В commercially В produced В compost, В plastic В netting В bought В annually, В slug В pellets, В plastic В pots В and В labels В for В seedlings В that В are В not В re-­‐used, В plastic В sheets В and В other В consumables В Reconstruction В of В food В commons В (when В public В land В is В managed В collectively В but В not В appropriated), В renormalizing В the В possibility В of В foraging В and В gathering В food, В grow В food В collectively В Enclosure В (or В privatisation) В of В public В land В for В food В growing, В justified В as В saving В council В management В costs, В which В reduces В public В access В and В ownership В of В common В resources В Increased В consumption В of В sustainable В locally В produced В food В (increased В self-­‐reliance) В and В building В alternative В food В regimes, В food В sovereignty В Strengthening В unjust В ecological В security В policies В (self-­‐sufficiency В aimed В at В maintaining В neoliberal В regimes В and В unsustainable В consumption В patterns) В Snowball В effect В and В greater В reconnection В of В humans В with В nature В Uselessly В long В waiting В lists В for В allotments, В and В little В beneficial/productive В use В of В allotment В land. В Alternative, В visionary В urbanism, В which В reconciles В society В and В nature, В and В embeds В food В production В in В the В urban В realm. В Gentrification В of В neighbourhoods В and В the В consequent В displacement В of В the В less В wealthy В population В Source: В author В В В В 8 В В Types В of В urban В agricultural В initiatives В Before В we В continue В with В the В next В sections, В it В might В be В worth В exploring В the В type В of В urban В agricultural В initiatives В that В we В have В encountered В during В this В research. В This В will В be В useful В to В understand В the В sections В that В will В follow, В when В we В encourage В the В reader В to В explore В possible В alternative В ways В of В growing В food В in В the В city. В В В Display В gardens В Guerrilla В gardens В Vermcal В gardens В Healing В gardens В Educamonal В gardens В Enclosed В community В gardens В В Publicly В accessible В community В gardens В Public В orchards В Community В forest В gardens В Types В of В urban В agriculture В Roonop В growing В В Allotments В Landshare В gardens В Indoor В growing В (idroponics, В aquaponics) В Urban В farms В Market В gardens В and В commercial В farms В В В Display В gardens В = В they В are В usually В small В edible В beds, В former В flower В planters В or В community В gardens В set В up В in В public, В openly В accessible В space В (i.e. В city В centres, В near В stations, В public В parks В or В within В heritage В buildings) В that В are В planted В with В edible В plants В to В inspire В people В to В grow. В They В tend В to В be В managed В by В local В authorities В (i.e. В park В staff), В and В to В be В aesthetically В pleasing, В therefore В the В plants В are В not В usually В harvested В and/or В people В are В not В encouraged В to В pick В the В fruit В and В veg. В Some В display В gardens В are В the В setting В for В gardening В sessions В run В by В volunteers В and В are В open В to В the В public. В Guerrilla В gardens В = В Guerrilla В gardening В is В a В quite В wide В family В of В projects, В linked В together В by В the В fact В that В they В are В created В by В someone, В on В someone В else’s В land, В without В asking В permission. В These В can В be В flower В meadows В on В derelict В land В (planted В using  “seed В bombs”), В vegetable В patches В alongside В streets В or В in В hidden В corners В of В public В parks, В and В various В ornamental В or В edible В patches В on В reclaimed В land В scattered В around В the В city. В Guerrilla В gardens В tend В to В be В temporary: В people В move В on, В land В is В developed, В park В managers В arrive В with В their В grass В mowers В ...or В the В land В is В officially В reclaimed В and В the В project В gets В permission. В Then В this В becomes В a В community В garden. В Vertical В gardens В = В Vertical В gardens В are В usually В growing В projects В that В extend В vertically В along В a В wall, В or В a В window, В or В occasionally В the В plants В themselves В constitute В the В wall, В and В grow В in В containers В attached В to В vertical В cables. В These В projects В tend В to В need В a В certain В infrastructure В (for В example В for В watering В or В for В keeping В the В plants В in В place) В but В are В very В space В efficient. В В В 9 В В Image В 2  – В A В display В garden В in В Brighton В В Source: В Author’s В own В В Healing В gardens В = В These В are В growing В projects В specifically В dedicated В to В healing. В They В tend В to В grow В medicinal/aromatic В plants, В are В designed В in В ways В that В please В the В senses, В and В are В run В to В support В specific В groups В through В gardening В or В creative В activities В around В and В in В between В the В plants. В They В are В often В managed В by, В or В run В in В partnership В with, В health В institutions. В Educational В gardens В = В Educational В gardens В are В food В growing В projects В that В have В as В their В main В goal В horticultural, В environmental В and/or В food-­‐related В education В (i.e. В seasonality, В cooking, В etc.). В Of В course, В almost В all В the В existing В gardening В projects  – В especially В community В gardens В -­‐ В have В an В educational В element, В so В this В category В largely В overlaps В with В many В others В in В this В list, В however, В typically В gardens В in В this В category В are В directly В run В by В educational В institutions В (i.e. В schools, В day В nurseries, В colleges В and В universities, В and В are В located В in В their В grounds В (i.e. В schoolyards). В This В limits В the В possibility В of В wider В community В engagement. В Enclosed В community В gardens В = В Many В community В gardens В are В not В located В on В public В land, В but В are В rather В located В on В private В land. В Most В of В the В time  – В although В not В always  – В this В implies В a В restricted В definition В of В which В community В can В potentially В be В involved. В Examples В could В be В hospital В community В gardens, В projects В for В young В single В mothers В or В female В victims В of В violence, В asylum В seekers В and В refugees, В street В drinker В rehabilitation В projects: В services В in В support В of В these В communities В do В often В offer В gardening В opportunities В within В protected В and В enclosed В spaces В (within В the В private В garden В of В their В accommodation, В a В fenced В allotment, В a В school В or В other В institution). В Occasionally В volunteers В can В be В involved В too, В but В their В number В is В usually В restricted. В В Publicly В accessible В community В gardens В = В This В is В probably В the В most В known В type В of В urban В agricultural В initiative. В These В gardens В are В located В in В parks, В street В verges, В urban В greens, В city В squares В or В other В locations В where В they В can В be В accessed В by В the В larger В public В all В the В time В (i.e. В church В yards, В railway В В 10 В В stations, В former В brownfield В sites, В etc.). В Plants В are В grown В in В containers, В dedicated В raised В beds, В greenhouses, В or В straight В into В the В soil. В They В have В usually В been В granted В permission, В and В the В gardeners В are В affiliated В to В an В association В but В occasionally В they В can В also В be В started В through В squatting В or В guerrilla В gardening В (such В as В in В the В case В of В Incredible В Edible В Todmorden). В Images: В a В Graveyard В garden В and В street В growing В site, В both В in В Todmorden В В Source: В Courtesy В of В Incredible В Edible В Todmorden В (IED) В В В Public В orchards В = В A В number В of В local В councils В are В investing В in В the В future В and В planting В fruit В and В nut В trees В on В public В land. В The В act В of В planting В itself В is В sometimes В done В in В partnership В with В local В В 11 В В community В organisations В or В institutions, В such В as В primary В schools. В Public В orchards В constitute В the В basis В for В a В bountiful В public В harvest В in В a В few В years В time. В В Community В forest В gardens В = В Forest В gardens В are В usually В woody В areas В planted В (or В interplanted В in В between В existing В trees) В with В edible В (perennial) В species В following В permaculture В principles. В This В means В that В the В gardens В are В designed В to В mimic В the В positive В interaction В between В species В that В we В spontaneously В find В in В nature, В but В maximising В the В number В of В edible В species. В While В less В common В than В vegetable В gardens, В edible В forest В gardens В are В increasingly В becoming В a В preferential В choice В of В local В communities В that В have В discovered В the В benefits В of В choosing В perennial В edible В plants. В В Images: В Three В pictures В from В community В forest В gardens В in В Newcastle В and В Brighton В В В Source: В Author’s В own В В В В В В 12 В В Rooftop В growing В = В Rooftop В growing В projects В are В another В form В of В urban В agriculture В on В the В rise. В Eye В catching В cases В such В as В in В Chicago В and В New В York В had В a В very В inspiring В effect В on В a В number В of В organisations В with В no В land В but В available В roof В space. В Rooftops В have В quite В a В wide В number В of В uses: В from В the В involvement В of В patients В in В a В Toronto В hospital В to В grow В their В own В meals В on В the В rooftop, В to В the В employment В of В supermarket В staff В on В the В roof В to В produce В their В own В greengroceries. В A В number В of В Chinese В cities В are В looking В into В the В commercial В use В of В rooftop В space В for В food В growing, В while В Tokyo В has В already В developed В individual В rooftop В plots В for В rent. В В В В Image: В a В rooftop В allotment В in В Brighton В В Source: В Author’s В own В В Allotments В = В Allotment В are В probably В the В most В widespread В form В of В urban В food В growing. В While В most В forms В of В commercial В and В household В food В growing В have В progressively В disappeared В from В the В urban В fabric В in В the В last В century, В allotments В have В been В re-­‐introduced В or В become В regulated В by В public В authorities В (when В they В were В spontaneously В emerging В out В of В reclaimed В land). В In В the В UK В it В is В a В statutory В duty В of В local В authorities В to В provide В allotments В when В there В is В demand. В Allotments В plots В are В usually В of В a В standard В size В (originally В 10x30 В rods В or В yards, В but В now В they В tend В to В be В smaller В due В to В high В demand), В and В can В be В rented В by В individuals В (a В smaller В number В of В plots В can В be В rented В by В community В groups). В Allotments В sites В are В usually В fenced В and В restrict В access В to В members В of В the В public. В Produce В cannot В be В sold В commercially, В but В can В be В sold В when В it В is В excess В produce, В with В the В purpose В of В raising В funds В for В their В allotment В association В (some В sites В have В a В вЂ�Sunday’ В shop) В or В can В be В exchanged/sold В among В members В of В the В allotment В association. В Allotment В shops, В open В to В the В public, В can В provide В up В to В ВЈ2000-­‐3000 В in В revenue В a В year. В В Landshare В gardens В = В Landshare В gardens В are В privately В owned В gardens В (usually В front В or В back В gardens) В that В property В owners В decide В to В share, В or В to В let В people В (landless) В who В are В willing В to В grow В use В for В free. В Landshare В provides В a В number В of В benefits: В it В encourages В the В exchange В of В skills, В produce В sharing, В community В building В and В personal В and В emotional В support В to В lone В householders. В There В are В a В number В of В national В initiatives В that В facilitate В matching В landowners В and В land В seekers. В The В best В known В is В www.landshare.net В В (see В more В details В in В the В next В chapter). В В 13 В В Urban В farms В = В Urban В farms В are В usually В middle В sized В (2-­‐3 В acres) В sites В within В the В city, В that В combine В vegetable В growing, В animal В husbandry, В leisure В and В educational В activities. В Sometimes В they В run В a В cafГ© В or В small В restaurant В with В the В local В produce, В they В have В play В areas В and В offer В growing В spaces В for В local В schools, В community В groups В or В families. В In В the В UK В they В are В usually В co-­‐funded В by В local В councils В and В other В charities В for В the В educational В services В that В they В provide. В Market В gardens В and В commercial В farms В = В These В are В profit В oriented В versions В of В the В above. В They В also В tend В to В be В middle-­‐sized В projects В (2-­‐3 В acres), В but В are В less В likely В to В receive В external В funding. В Some В have В adapted В to В the В growing В demand В for В leisure В and В educational В services, В and В combine В vegetable В (and В meat) В production В with В recreational В activities В for В family В and В children  – В for В example В play-­‐barns В -­‐ В and В offer В some В educational В opportunities, В in В the В form В of В short В courses. В Some В of В these, В smaller В in В size, В specialise В in В the В propagation В of В specialist В plants В for В edible В landscaping. В В Photo В of В a В weekly В shop В at В Moorside В Allotments, В Newcastle В upon В Tyne В В Source: В Author’s В own В В Indoor В growing В = В Urban В agriculture В does В not В only В occur В outdoors. В More В and В more В projects В are В looking В into В how В to В convert В empty В buildings В into В food В growing В projects, В using В natural В or В artificial В light, В or В for В activities В that В do В not В need В much В light В such В as В mushroom В growing В and В fish В farming. В Indoor В growing В requires В a В certain В infrastructure, В and В is В therefore В undertaken В in В view В of В commercialising В the В produce. В For В more В details В see В aquaculture В and В hydroponics В below. В В В В В В В 14 В В Image В -­‐ В Facilities В used В by В local В schools В in В an В educational В forest В garden В in В Brighton: В a В clay В oven, В a В hut В and В a В woodworking В area В В Source: В Author’s В own В В В В В Private В gardens В and В other В interstitial В urban В farming В = В Alongside В all В these В types В of В urban В agriculture В we В also В have В to В consider В the В wide В range В of В interstitial В practices В that В grow В food В within В the В fabric В of В the В city: В balcony В pots В and В window В sill В containers, В front В and В back В garden В plant В growing В and В animal В rearing, В beekeeping В and В seed В sprouting. В Sometimes В these В micro-­‐food В growing В projects В are В part В of В spin В farming В projects В (intensive В cultivation В of В small В plots В from В a В range В of В gardens, В that В put В together В produce В as В a В farm-­‐size В plot В of В land), В and В their В produce В is В commercialised В in В a В network, В in В other В cases В this В is В produced В for В family В consumption. В В В В В В 15 В В Images: В Aquaponics В and В hydroponics В at В the  “Farm:Shop”, В London В В В В Source: В courtesy В of В Farm: В Shop, В London В В В В В 16 В В 2. В Land В access В В Unavailable В land В or В unsuitable В land? В Land В access В is В generally В the В most В problematic В issue В for В urban В food В growers. В While В wherever В you В look В you В will В probably В see В some В sort В of В unused В land В that В might В appeal В to В you, В this В is В not В always В available, В or В indeed В suitable В for В the В type В of В project В you В have В in В mind. В For В example, В there В are В more В and В more В young В people В (often В with В children) В with В no В experience В of В food В growing В that В try В to В rent В an В allotment. В They В are В not В aware В of В how В daunting В this В can В be В when В family В time В is В tight, В children В get В bored В easily, В consistency В over В the В season В is В not В guaranteed, В weeds В grow В fast В and В lack В of В growing В skills В don’t В lead В to В much В yield. В Many В new В allotment В holders В are В evicted В from В their В plots В within В six В months В or В a В year В because В they В fail В to В comply В with В the В standards В of В maintenance В required В by В the В allotment В association. В For В them, В a В community В garden В with В some В expert В gardeners В would В be В a В much В better В starting В point, В while В the В allotment В could В be В more В viable В after В a В couple В of В growing В seasons В and В some В gardening В experience. В On В the В other В hand, В there В are В sometimes В community В groups В or В individuals В looking В to В invest В more В substantially В in В land В productivity, В and В maybe В to В plant В orchards В or В produce В vegetables В for В the В community. В Their В project В requires В land В security В (for В example В long В term В leases), В to В be В eligible В for В some В type В of В funding, В or В some В measures В in В place В to В protect В their В investments В (i.e. В polytunnels) В from В vandalism В or В their В trees В from В being В stolen. В For В them В an В allotment В is В not В ideal: В an В orchard В would В probably В provide В shade В to В the В neighbouring В plots В (this В is В usually В not В allowed) В and В the В lease В might В be В subject В to В annual В renewal, В which В is В not В always В guaranteed. В An В open В park, В on В the В other В hand, В might В be В too В risky. В While В an В open В orchard В would В be В a В desirable В outcome В when В seen В as В a В form В of В вЂ�rebuilding В the В food В commons’ В (when В collective В urban В space В becomes В a В source В of В food В for В the В whole В community), В in В practice В this В can В be В difficult В to В achieve. В Until В the В practice В of В planting В edible В landscapes В is В вЂ�normalised’ В the В existing В exceptions В sometimes В become В targets В of В vandalism, В or В the В trees В are В stolen В overnight. В В Identifying В and В accessing В the В most В appropriate В land В for В your В project В is В not В always В straightforward. В В In В this В section В of В the В booklet В we В want В to В guide В you В towards В the В choice В of В the В most В suitable В land. В Your В needs В and В skills В will В probably В change В over В time, В so В you В are В advised В to В come В back В to В this В section В regularly В for В self-­‐assessment. В В Gardening В motivation В and В land В need: В guidance В for В self-­‐assessment В The В first В step В to В accessing В land В is В therefore В an В accurate В assessment В of В the В short В and В long В term В needs В of В food В growers. В The В reason В why В you В are В looking В to В grow В food В is В important. В Being В aware В of В this В will В help В you В to В find В the В right В project В and В avoid В later В disappointment В or В having В to В deal В with В unpleasant В situations. В If, В for В example, В you В want В to В grow В food В to В be В able В to В afford В to В eat В organic, В then В volunteering В in В a В school В garden В isn’t В the В right В choice: В here В the В vegetables В are В likely В to В be В kept В at В school В for В educational В purposes В (i.e. В cooking, В chopping, В to В aid В numeracy…). В Or В again, В if В you В just В want В to В try В to В grow В to В see В how В it В goes, В the В allotment В is В not В the В right В place: В here В the В rule В is В that В you В keep В your В plot В in В good В state В of В cultivation, В there В are В regular В inspections В and В eviction В is В likely В if В the В allotment В is В not В well В maintained. В So, В don’t В waste В В 17 В В money В and В get В angry: В unless В you В have В a В fair В amount В of В time В it В is В better В to В start В from В a В small В patch, В and В ideally В with В the В help В of В someone В else В more В skilled. В Sharing В someone В else’s В land, В setting В up В a В smallholding, В starting В a В community В garden, В are В all В options В that В require В some В basic В initial В conditions. В В So, В here В below В is В an В overview В of В different В motivations В for В gardening, В that В are В discussed В taking В into В account В the В initial В required В conditions В that В are В crucial В for В a В good В start В of В your В food В growing В project. В В В Graph: В an В overview В of В different В motivations В for В community’s В engagement В in В urban В agriculture В Being В acmve В in В the В neighbourhood В Meemng В new В people В Learning В new В skills В Eamng В more В sustainably В Experimenmng В with В something В new В Seeking В mental В health В and В wellbeing В MoQvaQon В for В В food В growing В Inspiring В other В people В to В grow В Resilience В to В food В poverty В Contribumng В to В feeding В your В family В Searching В for В new В employment В opportunimes В В Source: В author’s В elaboration В В 1. Being В active В in В your В neighbourhood/community’s В life В Г пѓ В If В you В want В to В grow В food В as В a В way В to В be В more В involved В in В the В life В of В your В neighbourhood, В contribute В to В social В cohesion, В support В children’s В education, В promote В environmental В awareness, В etc. В then В you В could В join В an В existing В community В garden, В or В a В school В project, В and В when В you В are В ready, В you В could В even В think В about В setting В up В and В leading В a В new В project. В The В key В to В success В for В a В community В garden В is В to В be В able В to В build В and В maintain В a В motivated В group В of В people В with В the В commitment, В and В perseverance, В to В be В engaged В consistently. В You В don’t В necessarily В need В funding. В Many В projects В actually В misjudge В this В and В postpone В action В in В search В of В funding, В while В actually В this В simply В impact В on В their В motivation В (and В while В waiting В for В funding В might В loose В momentum). В The В majority В of В projects В fail В due В to В lack В of В commitment, В rather В than В lack В of В funding. В My В В 18 В В 2.
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advice В is В to В join  – В alone В or В with В your В group В of В friends  – В an В existing В project В before В deciding В to В set В up В a В new В project. В This В is В a В way В to В test В your В motivation В and В capacities: В a В new В project В may В be В premature В for В your В group В if В you В have В not В done В practical В things В together В before, В or В if В you В don’t В know В the В neighbourhood В and В its В residents, В for В example. В Many В failing В projects В may В also В have В a В negative В effect В on В the В overall В community, В as В they В impact В on В the В attitude В of В local В government В towards В community В activism, В especially В when В they В negotiate В the В use В of В public В land В that В is В then В left В neglected В (see В below В for В more В details). В В Meeting В new В people/finding В new В friends В Г пѓ В As В above. В An В existing В community В garden В or В a В share В in В a В private В garden В (see В the В LandShare В website) В could В be В a В possibility. В If В you В go В for В land В share, В it В is В advisable В to В get В to В know В the В garden В owner, В as В this В person В might В have В other В reasons В for В offering В the В garden В to В you В (for В example В expecting В a В certain В amount В of В produce, В or В might В only В open В the В garden В at В fixed В times). В You В could В also В start В more В informally В than В LandShare, В and В offer В to В garden В your В neighbour’s В garden. В Learning В new В skills/Teaching В your В children В how В to В grow В Г пѓ В Depending В on В the В type В of В skills В that В you В want В to В build, В there В are В various В options В available. В Many В community В gardens В run В training В sessions В open В to В all. В You В can В join В these В freely В (or В for В a В small В fee) В without В having В to В commit В to В the В project. В If В you В want В a В place В of В your В own, В especially В if В you В have В kids В that В might В like В to В experiment В with В the В vegetables В (!) В then В you В could В try В to В rent В a В small В or В half В allotment В plot. В Some В sites В offer В guidance В or В basic В training В for В new В plot В holders. В В It В is В worth В considering В that В there В are В associations В and В charities В that В offer В training В in В various В locations, В so В you В don’t В need В to В be В associated В with В any В particular В site В for В in В order В to В learn. В В Eating В more В sustainably В Г пѓ В If В you В are В committed В to В growing В your В own В in В order В to В eat В more В sustainably В you В have В probably В envisioned В a В long В term В plan. В Feeding В yourself В and В your В family В will В require В a В decent В size В plot, В and В might В include В having В chickens В or В even В bees. В An В allotment В could В be В an В optimal В choice, В which В could В be В scaled В up В to В a В smallholding В managed В collectively. В Or В you В could В join В a В local В Community В Supported В Agriculture В (CSA) В project, В which В is В usually В a В farm В that В grows  “on В demand”. В You В invest В a В certain В amount В depending В on В what В you В want В to В eat В over В the В year, В and В the В farm В will В provide В you В with В a В weekly В or В fortnightly В box. В This В can В include В meat, В eggs, В veg, В milk, В etc. В Some В farms В allow В you В to В pay В in В kind В (if В not В all, В at В least В a В part), В by В working В with В them. В В Experimenting В with В something В new В Г пѓ В If В you В are В just В thinking В of В growing В because В you В have В recently В developed В a В curiosity, В but В you В are В not В sure В what В to В do В in В the В future, В then В you В could В try В to В grow В in В pots В at В home В or В at В work В (a В well В lit В window В sill В will В do В perfectly), В or В even В try В to В grow В something В in В your В garden. В Joining В some В sessions В in В an В existing В community В garden В could В also В be В a В good В opportunity В to В see В and В taste В different В vegetables. В You В might В be В completely В hooked В by В the В amazing В flavours В of В vegetables В that В you В will В never В be В able В to В find В in В the В shops! В Seeking В mental В health В and В wellbeing В Г пѓ В If В your В main В motivation В for В gardening В is В seeking В wellbeing В in В a В broad В sense В (from В simple В stress В relief В to В copying В with В more В serious В depression В or В other В mental/physical В health В conditions), В there В are В a В wide В range В of В gardening В projects В that В you В may В want В to В consider. В If В you В have В access В to В your В own В garden, В you В mind В find В relief В even В just В digging В the В soil В and В watching В a В handful В of В seeds В growing, В or В planting В strongly В scented В herbs В (have В you В ever В tried В В 19 В В growing В thyme, В oregano В and В lemon В balm?). В This В is В especially В good В if В you В enjoy В silent В gardening В sessions. В Weeding В a В patch В can В actually В equal В the В benefits В of В meditation В practices. В Joining В a В community В garden В might В reduce В your В freedom В to В dig В around В in В a В garden В as В mich В as В you В like В (which В is В very В cathartic), В and В the В quietness В associated В with В this, В but В will В add В the В pleasure В of В more В sociable В gatherings В and, В under В the В guidance В of В an В expert В gardener, В will В increase В the В chances В of В having В a В successful, В productive В garden В if В your В skills В are В limited. В This В will В also В put В you В in В touch В with В the В local В community В and В offer В you В the В chance В to В enlarge В your В social В circles. В Community В gardens В often В organise В convivial В social В events. В 7. Inspire В other В people В to В grow В Г пѓ В If В you В are В an В expert В gardener, В and В are В motivated В to В inspire В other В people В to В grow В for В the В range В of В benefits В that В gardening В can В bring, В you В should В probably В try В to В set В up В a В display В garden В in В a В visible В area В (i.e. В a В raised В bed В in В park В or В green В or В flower В planter), В or В a В community В garden В with В a В clear В educational В purpose. В Initiating В a В landshare В project В in В your В street, В using В front В or В back В gardens В is В also В a В viable В choice. В В 8. Searching В for В new В economic В means/employment В opportunities. В If В you В are В hoping В to В go В into В food В growing В to В become В a В professional В grower В you В should В probably В also В join В a В lobbying В group: В one В of В the В most В crucial В problems В of В professional В agriculture В (especially В organic) В is В the В ability В to В secure В a В market В for В the В produce. В Some В forward-­‐
looking  cities  have  started  to  develop  policies  to  support  their  agricultural  economy,  envisioning  the  potential  increase  in  job  opportunities,  health  benefits,  and  waste  reduction.  Your  most  suitable  choices  are  projects  where  you  can  build  up  professional  skills:  starting  from  an  allotment  (which  is  1/16th  of  an  acre),  scaling  up  to  larger  plots  (ideally  in  land-­‐farm  training  projects,  such  as  the  one  promoted  by  Kindling  Trust  in  Manchester),  aiming  to  be  able  to  run  a  2-­‐3  acres  smallholding.  It  is  a  difficult  route  at  the  moment,  so  better  deal  with  this  collectively  and  with  a  back-­‐
up В job. В 9. Alternative В ways В to В contribute В to В the В family В finances В Г пѓ В You В might В not В find В yourself В in В extreme В food В poverty, В but В you В might В nonetheless В be В looking В for В ways В to В cope В with В the В current В economic В crisis, В increased В cost В of В food В or В sudden В unexpected В financial В difficulties. В In В this В situation В you В might В still В want В to В be В able В to В eat В organic В food, В or В a В specific В variety В of В vegetables В that В might В otherwise В be В quite В expensive. В Whatever В your В reason, В growing В your В own В could  – В although В not В always  – В be В a В way В to В save В money В on В food. В An В option В for В you В could В be В renting В an В allotment. В Although В you В should В balance В the В cost В of В the В rent В (especially В if В you В are В not В entitled В to В a В discount В rate), В the В cost В of В buying В tools В and В seeds В if В you В don’t В already В have В them В (although В there В are В sharing В schemes В and В seed В swapping В opportunities В that В can В save В you В a В lot В of В start В up В costs), В and В all В the В little В props В that В go В with В gardening В (boots, В gloves, В etc..). В A В community В garden В with В an В individually В allocated В growing В bed В could В also В be В a В viable В choice: В having В an В allocated В small В plot В will В allow В you В to В know В how В much В and В what В you В can В actually В grow В and В eat. В Another В possible В choice В is В joining В a В Community В Supported В Agriculture В (CSA) В where В you В could В barter В some В work В for В a В discounted В veggy В box. В 10. Resilience В to В food В poverty В Г пѓ В You В might В find В yourself В struggling В to В afford В fresh В food. В If В you В have В time В and В some В skills, В an В allotment В (even В a В half В plot) В can В be В very В useful. В Allotments В usually В have В reduced В renting В fees В for В people В on В benefits. В There В are В also В specific В food В bank В related В community В gardens, В which В combine В the В provision В of В initial В В 20 В В land В where В to В grow В collectively, В with В the В necessary В training В of В basic В gardening В skills В to В be В able В to В become В an В independent В grower. В В Size В and В location В of В the В land В В Size В and В location В are В two В important В factors В for В the В sustainability В of В the В project. В While В size В can В be В transcended В to В a В certain В extent В (i.e. В too В small В plots В can В be В grown В vertically В to В gain В space, В or В companion В planting В can В make В efficient В use В of В limited В space), В the В proximity В from В your В main В location В to В the В land В where В to В grow В food В is В crucial. В The В closer В the В garden, В the В easier В it В will В be В to В look В after В the В land В when В you В have В little В time, В or В the В weather В is В not В favourable. В Proximity В of В the В land В to В your В house В (or В your В workplace) В will В not В only В facilitate В a В good В use В of В small В breaks В for В tedious В works В (like В weeding), В but В will В also В facilitate В the В reuse В of В organic В waste В to В make В your В own В compost, В and В the В control В of В pests В without В chemicals В (i.e. В picking В slugs В by В hand В in В early В morning В or В at В dusk). В Land В size В (and В its В productivity) В tends В to В be В underestimated: В it В is В quite В common В to В see В people В seeking В more В land В (a В full В allotment В plot В before В they В have В ever В gardened В a В half В plot, В for В example), В or В quarrelling В about В a В few В centimetres В of В land В supposedly В taken В over В by В their В neighbour, В when В actually В a В skilled В gardener В can В easily В meet В the В vegetable В needs В of В a В small В family В with В half В allotment В plot В (approximately В 10x15 В sq В metres). В When В identifying В or В choosing В a В location В for В growing, В you В might В also В want В to В consider В whether В or В not В this В place В is В fenced, В or В вЂ�fencible’  –and В indeed В what В is В the В significance В of В fencing В for В you В and В for В the В community В around В you. В Growing В food В reconnects В you В with В something В instinctual, В which В is В our В survival В instinct. В Many В growers В are В very В attached В to В their В crops В and В need В to В think В of В them В as В вЂ�secure’, В even В when В they В have В disposable В income В or В grow В more В than В what В they В can В possibly В eat. В This В seems В more В like В a В need В dictated В by В a В special В form В of В вЂ�place В attachment’ В (a В sort В of В imagined В вЂ�place В dependency’ В for В survival) В rather В than В an В objective В need. В Of В course В fencing В may В also В be В required В for В protecting В a В garden В from В destructive В incursions, В or В for В protecting В tools В from В theft. В In В both В the В cases, В fencing В is В sometimes В seen В as В the В only В solution, В even В when В it В is В not. В On В the В other В hand, В a В fence В can В also В be В detrimental В to В the В local В community. В It В encloses В a В space В symbolically В and В practically, В and В it В therefore В excludes. В It В can В transmit В a В sense В of В distrust В and В reinforce В the В claims В of В exclusive В possession В over В natural В resources. В It В reproduces В subdivision, В and В legitimises В enclosure В of В common В goods. В It В says  “keep В away”. В В So, В when В looking В for В land, В it В is В worth В asking В who В is В going В to В benefit В from В fencing В your В patch В of В land, В if В these В benefits В are В higher В than В the В social В distress В it В causes, В and В if В there В are В other В alternative В solutions В (such В as, В for В example, В enlarging В ownership). В В Looking В for В land В in В your В neighbourhood. В Do В you В really В need В to В set В up В a В new В food В growing В project? В Food В growing В has В become В quite В popular, В and В there В usually В are В several В gardening В projects В in В each В city. В Many, В if В not В most В of В them В struggle В to В sustain В themselves: В they В lack В volunteers В to В run В the В sessions В when В everyone В is В busy, В they В lack В the В time В or В the В skills В for В fundraising В (not В essential, В but В important В for В running В related В events В and В gaining В visibility), В or В they В have В an В unsecured В land В tenure. В These В are В just В some В of В the В most В common В constraints. В If В you В are В interested В in В growing В food, В whatever В your В motivation В (see В self-­‐assessment В section В above), В we В recommend В you В consider В joining В an В existing В project В at В first. В This В will В make В the В group В В 21 В В stronger В and В can В revitalise В a В group В that В needs В new В energy В and В ideas. В You В could В even В persuade В them В to В develop В together В the В particular В idea В that В you В had В originally В in В mind, В if В you В wanted В to В develop В a В particular В type В of В community В garden. В В This В can В give В you В the В opportunity В to В learn В new В skills. В If В you В have В not В grown В food В before, В you В should В remember В there В is В a В lot В to В learn. В Joining В an В existing В gardening В project В can В also В be В beneficial В to В your В social В and В neighbourhood В life. В You В will В have В the В opportunity В to В get В to В know В new В people, В make В friends В and В be В more В connected В to В your В neighbourhood В space. В Some В community В food В growing В projects В take В place В on В council В land, В or В in В public В space: В you В might В feel В more В connected В to В the В place В where В you В live. В This В will В not В stop В you В from В becoming В an В independent В grower: В with В experience В you В will В be В able В to В handle В an В allotment В all В by В yourself, В or В even В run В a В smallholding. В This В just В takes В time В and В practice. В В If В you В have В access В to В a В bit В of В land В where В you В live В (i.e. В you В have В a В front В or В back В garden), В you В could В also В start В from В there, В but В if В you В have В never В done В gardening В before, В we В recommend В that В you В also В join В a В gardening В group. В В Where В to В look В for В land/opportunities В for В growing В food, В and В where В to В find В support В for В land В access В В There В are В a В number В of В institutions В that В can В support В you В in В your В search В for В cultivable В land. В В В The В Federation В of В City В Farms В and В Community В gardens В can В support В you В in В identifying В and В accessing В land В for В a В variety В of В projects В (including В training В for В buying В the В land). В They В are В also В the В initiators В of В the В Community В Land В Advisory В Service В which В has В published В documents В online В (http://www.communitylandadvice.org.uk/), В runs В workshops В and В provides В specific В advice. В Check В out В their В website: В http://www.farmgarden.org.uk/ В . В В Incredible В Edible В Todmorden В has В put В online В examples В of В land В tenure В agreements В and В insurance В licences: В http://www.incredible-­‐edible-­‐todmorden.co.uk/resources/land-­‐share-­‐
and-­‐using-­‐public-­‐land    LandShare  has  an  online  platform  where  you  can  offer  land  (i.e.  your  garden,  to  be  shared   with  someone  willing  to  teach  you  how  to  grow,  or  just  to  grow  and  share  the  produce),  or  where  you  can  find  available  land  to  share  with  someone  else:  www.landshare.net/    Food  growing  project  mapping.  In  many  areas  across  the  UK  there  are  groups  and  organisations  mapping  available  land  and  food  growing  projects.  Search  the  web  with  a  number  of  key  words,  like  the  name  of  your  town  or  neighbourhood,  and  terms  like  “food  growing”,  “community  gardens”,  “gardening”  or  “urban  agriculture”.  In  Leeds  you  can  look  on  the  Feed  Leeds  website  (www.feedleeds.org);  in  Bristol  there  is  an  online  Google  map  (http://www.bristolfoodnetwork.org/local-­‐food-­‐map/);  in  Somerset  there  is  the  sophisticated  food  mapper  (http://www.foodmapper.org.uk  );  in  Brighton,  you  can  contact  the  Brighton  and  Hove  food  partnership  (http://www.bhfood.org.uk/  );  in  Sheffield  (http://sheffieldfoodnetwork.co.uk/);  in  London,  Sustain  –  through  the  Capital  Growth  initiative  -­‐  is  mapping  and  monitoring  over  2000  food  growing  projects  (http://www.capitalgrowth.org/spaces/).    22   Your  local  council  will  have  a  dedicated  page  for  their  allotment  services  (which  is  a  statutory  duty  of  every  council)  and  possibly  other  community  food  growing  initiatives.  In  some  cities,  local  allotments  are  united  in  a  federation  that  supports  growers  in  a  number  of  ways.  It  is  worth  checking  if  in  your  area  there  is  a  similar  organisation.   Local  area  magazines  (i.e.  North  Leeds  Life)  may  also  list  community  food  growing  projects  in  need  of  volunteers.   Explore  your  neighbourhood.  Check  for  community  spaces,  or  ask  the  local  primary  school  (or  other  educational  and  health  institutions):  they  often  run  gardens  and  need  volunteers  to  help.  You  can  also  see  if  there  is  any  empty  space  in  your  area  that  could  become  a  food  growing  space.  You  can  then  contact  the  planning  department  to  find  out  which  sector  of  the  council  is  responsible  for  that  space  and  negotiate  an  agreement.  The  new  planning  law  (Neighbourhood  Act)  encourages  citizens  to  take  responsibility  of  common  resources  or  underused  spaces  via  temporary  leases  or  asset  transfer  schemes.     Image:  the  interface  of  Capital  Growth  (London)  for  searching  growing  spaces  in  the  city    Resources  in  Leeds  (land  and  support)  As  a  first  approach  to  food  growing  in  Leeds,  there  is  a  list  below  of  organisations  promoting  some  forms  of  community  gardening.  Some  of  them  publicise  their  regular  gardening  days,  as  they  appear  in  the  calendar  shown  at  page  43.   23   There  are  also  a  number  of  parks  where  Leeds  City  Council  (Parks  and  Countryside  Services)  is  happy  to  see  community  food  growing  projects  established,  on  the  condition  that  this  is  not  going  to  be  fenced,  and  after  having  stipulated  a  written  agreement.    Gardening  groups  in  Leeds  There  are  a  number  of  gardening  groups  and  projects  that  offer  opportunities  for  free  reskilling  and  that  look  for  new  members.  This  is  a  selection:   •
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Feed  Leeds,  an  umbrella  organisation  that  this  research  projects  has  supported  in  its  establishment  and  development,  should  be  the  main  reference  point  for  all  groups  seeking  support:  www.feedleeds.org  Allotments:  there  are  97  sites  in  Leeds,  accommodating  about  1000  food  growers.  Some  sites  have  spare  allotments  plots,  or  very  short  waiting  lists.  Most  of  them  are  self-­‐administered  sites  run  by  a  local  association.  For  more  info:  Leeds  city  council  allotments,  http://www.leeds.gov.uk/leisure/Pages/Allotments.aspx  or  Leeds  and  District  Allotment  Gardeners  Federation,  http://www.ldgf.org.uk/   Colour  garden:  Armley  Mills  Industrial  Museum.  This  is  community  garden  that  grows  heritage  and  dyeing  plants,  that  in  the  past  were  used  to  dye  fabric.   Contact:  Hannah  Kemp,  hannah.kemp@leeds.gov.uk   Front  garden  food  growing:  Back  to  Front  (Harehills)  and  Hyde  Park  Neighbourhood  Food-­‐Growing  Project.  Contacts:  Roxana.Summers@leeds.gov.uk  and  Ellen  Robottom,  Ellenrobottom@hotmail.com    Community  support  for  front  garden  food  growing:  Back  to  Front  community  hubs,  Harehills  (see  Roxana’s  contact  above)  Permaculture  forest  garden:  Bedford  Fields  Forest  Garden,  Woodhouse.  Contact:  Joanna  Dornan,  joannadornan@yahoo.co.uk    24   •
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 Permaculture  training  community  allotment:  Codben  Road,  Wortley.  Contact:  Niels  Corfield,  ediblecities@googlemail.com    Community-­‐Students  collaborative  gardening:  Bardon  Grange  Project,  Weetwood  and  University  Campus.  Contact:  Caroline  Scott,  caroline.scott@live.com   Edible  open  gardens:  Edible  Public  Space  (Chapeltown),  Pennington  Street  Community  Garden  (Woodhouse),  Kirkstall  community  garden  (Burley  and  Kirkstall),  various  �In  Bloom  initiatives’  across  the  city,  REAP  edible  beds  (Oakwood/Roundhay),   Healthy  Living  Centres:  Feel  Good  Factor  (Chapeltown),  Healthy  Living  Network  (Armley)  and  Zest   (Richmond  Hill)  Food  Growing  Project  (Hyde  Park).  Contact:  Green  Action,  http://www.greenactionleeds.org.uk/   Primary  school  food  growing  projects,  various  schools  across  Leeds,  involved  in  the  LESSN  network,  http://lessn.info/   Other  community  gardens  (i.e.  TCV  Hollybush,  Skelton  Grange,  Inkwell  Arts,  etc.),  all  contacts  available  on  the  Feed  Leeds  website,  www.feedleeds.org  Types  of  land  access  Beyond  the  most  traditional  renting  agreement,  most  commonly  renting  an  allotment,  there  are  a  number  of  alternative  forms  of  access  to  land  for  food  growing,  each  implying  a  specific  type  of  entitlement  to  the  produce,  or  security  of  tenure:   LandShare  –  is  an  informal  agreement  between  a  landowner  (usually  a  garden  owner  with  no  skills  or  time  to  cultivate  their  land)  and  one  or  more  food  growers  (people  without  a  garden  that  are  happy  to  share  the  land  at  no  cost).  Several  organisations  promote  forms  of  land  share.  The  most  known  is  the  nationwide  LandShare  initiative  established  by  Hugh  Fearnley-­‐Whittingstall  at  River  Cottage  (www.landshare.net),  which  offers  a  matching  service.  Transition  Town  initiatives  have  also  published  some  guidelines  with  examples  (see  the  Transition  Book  “Local  food.  How  to  make  it  happen”,  by  Pinkerton  and  Hopkins,  published  in  Totnes  in  2009).  While  agreements  are  generally  informal,  a  discussion  on  the  aims,  timescales,  and  growing  styles  among  land  sharers  is  suitable.   Guerrilla  gardening  –  Is  the  cultivation  of  a  plot/portion  of  land,  without  permission,  but  without  appropriation  /enclosure  of  the  land.  This  is  usually  a  temporary  and  unsecured  way  of  �accessing’  land.  While  some  of  these  guerrilla  initiatives  have  been  proved  successful  (Todmorden,  for  example,  started  in  this  way),  you  must  be  aware  that  guerrilla  approaches  don’t  secure  you  a  harvest:  you  might  find  that  your  plants  have  been  removed  or  cut  down.   Squatting  –  Means  taking  over  someone  else’s  land  (usually  abandoned)  to  grow  food,  establishing  some  sort  of  infrastructure  that  aims  to  be  permanent.  There  have  been  a  few  examples  in  the  UK,  from  squatting  empty  market  garden  greenhouses  in  London  to  building  raised  beds  on  reclaimed  land  in  the  centre  of  Brighton.  In  Detroit  squatting  has  occurred  on  a  large  scale:  local  citizens  have  been  fencing  vacant  lots  of  land  (this  is  called  “blotting”),  to  start  growing  food  to  meet  their  food  needs.  Squatting  is  usually  more  long  term  than  guerrilla  gardening,  but  to  make  it  sustainable  needs  an  energy  (and  financial)  investment  in  legal  battles  to  claim  your  right  to  grow  food  on  this  land.  If  you  want  to  follow  the  story  of  one  of  the  best  known  examples  of  an  urban  food  growing  project  on  squatted  land  you  can  see:  Grow  Heathrow  (www.transitionheathrow.com/grow-­‐heathrow  )   25    Meanwhile  uses  –  These  are  temporary  leases  for  a  space  that  would  normally  be  used  for  other  activities  (i.e.  non-­‐agricultural  land,  waiting  to  be  developed,  an  empty  building  or  an  empty  shop).  This  can  be  ideal  for  container  growing,  as  the  soil  might  be  concreted  over  or  not  fit  for  agriculture,  and  structures  (polytunnels,  containers,  etc.)  that  can  easily  be  moved  elsewhere  once  the  lease  ends.  For  more  information  on  this  type  of  lease:  www.meanwhilespace.com  and  www.meanwhilespace.org.uk.  For  an  example,  see  the  Cultivate  London  initiative  (http://www.cultivatelondon.org  ).    Temporary  uses  –  These  are  occupational  leases,  or  growing  licences,  signed  on  a  temporary  basis,  which  usually  are  renewed  annually  (i.e.  edible  beds  around  Todmorden,  Community  Railways  Partnerships,  etc.).  Many  railways  have  established  initiatives  where  the  local  community  can  manage  some  of  the  spaces  around  disused  station  buildings.  Brighton  and  Bristol  have  both  established  thriving  railways  partnership.  For  more  information  you  can  explore  your  local  railway  company’s  website,  or  contact  the  Association  of  Community  Railway  partnerships:  http://www.acorp.uk.com/.    Image:  a  community  garden  realised  through  a  railway  partnership,  in  Bristol    Source:  Author’s  own   26    Ongoing  lease:  Farm  Business  Tenancy  -­‐  This  type  of  lease  is  especially  designed  for  farmers.  The  ongoing  term  is  particularly  suitable  for  new  projects  seeking  start-­‐up  funds  to  buy  the  infrastructure  needed  (i.e.  large  polytunnels,  irrigation  systems,  machinery,  etc.)   Community  asset  transfer:  while,  as  I  mentioned  at  the  beginning  of  this  booklet,  there  are  various  insidious  risks  which  come  with  urban  agriculture,  and  the  loss  of  local  assets  is  one  of  these,  I  will  report  here  two  types  of  asset  transfer  which  can  lead  towards  a  reconstruction  of  the  commons  –  provided  the  leases  are  open  to  all  the  residents  of  a  community,  which  is  fluid  over  time,  and  not  just  tied  to  a  specific  social  group.   1)  Community-­‐led  public  open  space  management:  involves  the  shared  management  of  public  land  for  food  growing.  For  example  at  Wenlock  barn  estate,  Hackney,  London  (see  info  here:  http://www.neighbourhoodsgreen.org.uk/casestudy/display?casestudy=41).   2)  Community  Farm  Land  Trust.  Here  an  asset  transfer  has  been  used  to  set  up  a  land  trust  which  manages  a  wider  portion  of  land.  Stroud  is  quite  exemplary.  For  more  details  see  Stroud  Common  Wealth:  http://www.stroudcommonwealth.org.uk  and  http://www.biodynamiclandtrust.org.uk/resources/press-­‐research.    For  more  information  on  asset  transfers  you  can  consult  the  following:   • http://www.atu.org.uk/Document.ashx?ID=295   • http://www.transitionnetwork.org/ingredients/building/community-­‐ownership-­‐
assets   • http://en.communitylandadvice.org.uk/case-­‐studies   • Localism  Act  –  Community  right  to  bid  and  Assets  of  community  value  http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/localgovernment/pdf/1987150.pdf    London:  An  example  of  meanwhile  uses   (Cultivate  London,  Brentford  Lock  polytunnels)  Source:  http://www.cultivatelondon.org/#jp-­‐carousel-­‐369       27   3.  Soil  quality  and  urban  metabolism   While  often  neglected,  especially  by  new  and  unskilled  growers,  soil  quality  is  very  important,  possibly  the  most  important  element  of  urban  agriculture.  Soil  is  the  medium  in  which  you  grow  plants  (although  professional,  large  scale  growers  who  use  greenhouses  don’t  often  grow  in  soil,  but  rather  in  chemical  enriched  substrates).  Soil  can  be  rich  in  nutrients  or  very  poor,  can  be  alive  or  dead,  can  be  very  alkaline  or  very  acid,  it  can  be  clay-­‐
rich  or  sandy,  it  can  be  polluted  or  not.   Growing  food  in  cities,  where  the  origins  of  topsoil  or  previous  soil  uses  are  unknown,  and  where  pollutants  and  polluting  activities  abound  near  to  growing  sites,  brings  a  new  range  of  potential  problems.  With  the  rising  number  of  people  growing  food  in  urban  areas,  there  is  a  pressing  demand  for  affordable  and  intelligible  soil  assessment,  as  well  as  for  skills  on  how  to  improve  soil  fertility  and  texture.  Reflections  on  how  to  assess  and  improve  the  soil,  how  to  recycle  water  and  (kitchen  or  other)  waste  to  produce  compost,  and  ultimately  how  to  convert  urbanised  areas  back  into  food  producing  space,  go  under  the  umbrella  term  of  “urban  metabolism”.    Image:  A  community  garden  created  on  a  concreted  area  in  Glasgow.  Source:  Author’s  own    The  metaphor  of  metabolism  (the  digestion,  assimilation,  transformation  and  excretion  of  substances,  such  as  food,  in  living  organisms),  when  applied  to  a  city,  brings  a  new  range  of  thoughts  to  the  fore.  While  until  a  few  decades  ago  this  concept  was  used  to  think  about  cities  mainly  in  terms  of  flows  of  energy  and  materials,  more  recently  the  metaphor  has  been  used  to  think  about  a  new  range  of  social  activities  and  transformations.  Growing  food  in  cities,  shortening  the  food  chain,  waste  recycling  and  rehabilitating  soil  fertility  are  all  activities  through  which  we  can  impact  on  the  local  micro-­‐climate,  can  challenge  and  change  the  global  food  system,  can  �close  food  loops’  (meaning  that  all  our  food  waste  can  be   28   recycled  to  nurture  the  soil  for  food  production,  in  a  cycle  that  can  regenerate  itself),  and  can  radically  change  the  way  we  eat  -­‐  and  live  -­‐  in  cities.  These  socio  environmental  metabolic  changes  have  a  great  revolutionary  potential,  but  we  are  a  long  way  away  from  instigating  and  actually  achieving  this  change.   In  a  few  generations  we  have  lost  knowledge  on  how  to  grow  food  and  how  to  nurture  the  soil  through  our  waste.  We  have  got  used  to  almost  tasteless  industrially  produced  fruit  and  vegetables,  we  have  changed  our  diets  to  heavy-­‐carbon-­‐footprint  choices,  and  we  are  about  to  forget  how  to  cook.  Growing  food  has  been  classified  as  leisure.  Rearing  animals  requires  permission.  Land  for  food  growing  in  cities  is  scarce  and  expensive,  and  its  tenure  is  not  time-­‐secured.  Most  of  the  world’s  population  lives  in  cities,  and  more  and  more  communities  are  being  evicted  from  their  land  to  clear  space  for  industrial  agriculture  that  feeds  urban  populations  across  the  globe.  Despite  these  problematic  changes,  there  is  a  growing  movement  towards  urban  metabolism  that  is  deeply  rooted  in  the  desire  to  (re)gain  skills  and  knowledge  about  the  soil:  how  to  get  to  know  urban  soil,  how  to  assess  the  bioavailability  of  nutrients  and  pollutants,  how  to  rehabilitate  the  soil,  how  to  keep  it  fertile,  how  to  close  the  loops  of  food  and  nurture  the  soil  through  our  waste,  and  ultimately  how  to  grow  urban  food  more  sustainably.   Soil  pollutants,  soil  contamination  and  soil  rehabilitation  With  regards  to  soil  pollution  or  contamination,  at  the  moment  there  is  no  specialist  support  offered  by  local  councils  to  test  the  soil,  nor  there  are  specific  publications  addressing  the  non-­‐specialist  urban  food  grower’s  needs  (although  the  Alterra  research  group  at  Wageningen  University,  in  the  Netherlands,  is  preparing  one).   While  we  know  that  urban  soil  can  contain  arsenic,  lead,  cadmium,  nickel,  zinc,  copper,  hydrocarbon,  and  other  contaminants,  it  is  not  clear  when/whether  they  can  be  absorbed  by  plants,  which  plants  tend  to  absorb  them  most  (and  which  specific  contaminants)  and  to  what  extent  they  becomes  dangerous  for  human  health.  Some  contaminants,  for  example,  tend  to  stay  in  the  leaves  or  in  the  skin  of  a  fruit,  while  other  tend  to  be  stored  in  the  roots,  or  the  flesh  of  a  vegetable.  As  we  tend  to  eat  different  parts  in  different  plants  (e.g.  the  roots,  in  potatoes,  but  the  fruits  in  tomatoes,  it  isn’t  clear  if  we  might  potentially  end  up  eating  the  most  or  the  least  contaminated  part  of  a  crop.  We  also  don’t  know  much  about  –  or  find  difficult  to  predict  -­‐  when  soil  pollutants  become  available  to  a  plant,  and  enter  the  food  chain.  Bio-­‐availability  of  contaminants,  in  fact,  depends  on  soil  temperature  and  moisture,  external  atmospheric  conditions,  and  ultimately  the  type  of  plant  that  is  grown  in  the  soil.  Research  is  under  way,  but  currently  there  is  very  little  that  can  be  disseminated  to  non-­‐specialists.  Some  support  on  how  to  deal  with  contaminated  soils  is  offered  by  the  Federation  of  City  Farms  and  Allotment  Gardens.  You  can  access  their  guidelines  here:  http://www.farmgarden.org.uk/publications/135-­‐contaminated-­‐land-­‐guidelines.  Leeds  City  Council  policy  for  soil  testing  is  accessible  here:  Leeds  City  Council,  Contaminated  land  -­‐  Inspection  strategy  for  Leeds  (2001),  http://www.leeds.gov.uk/council/Pages/Contaminated-­‐land-­‐-­‐inspection-­‐strategy.aspx.  The  council  holds  information  on  previous  soil  uses  and  whether  there  was  a  history  of  soil  contamination.  So,  if  you  are  not  sure  about  the  history  of  your  site,  do  get  in  touch  with  the  council.  For  more  information  citizens  can  contact  the  Contaminated  Land  Officer  (Stella  Keenan,  0113  2478154,  email:  stella.keenan@leeds.gov.uk)   29   For  information  concerning  soil  quality  improvement,  on  the  other  hand,  there  is  abundant,  almost  excessive  information  available  in  various  publications,  and  perhaps  only  little  practical  support.  Almost  every  gardening  book  will  tell  you  how  important  it  is  to  assess  soil  acidity  and  alkalinity,  to  produce  and  use  your  own  compost,  and  to  nurture  your  plants  with  Nitrogen,  Phosphorous  or  Potassium  (N-­‐P-­‐K)  through  the  different  stages  of  their  growth.  Despite  this,  through  this  research  it  has  become  clear  that  -­‐  even  among  expert  gardeners  -­‐  appropriate  and  efficient  management  of  compost  heaps  is  quite  rare,  and  composting  knowledge  is  generally  quite  limited.   Wormeries,  a  method  by  which  food  waste  is  transformed  into  compost  by  worms,  are  great  as  they  can  receive  a  much  wider  type  of  kitchen  waste  (including  meat  and  cheese,  as  opposed  to  normal  composts),  they  work  pretty  quickly,  and  don’t  usually  become  a  breeding  ground  for  slugs.  Nonetheless,  they  are  very  little  used  among  gardeners.   In  order  to  increase  the  exchange  of  local  knowledge  around  these  issues,  enable  growers  to  reduce  their  dependency  on  chemicals,  and  to  control  the  quality  of  their  soils,  the  Urban  Food  Justice  social  platform  (a  learning  and  knowledge  exchange  device  organised  as  part  of  a  research  project,  see  page  2  for  more  details)  has  created  the  space  for  a  number  of  presentations  and  discussions  around  (among  other  themes)  soil  contamination,  rehabilitation,  and  compost  making.  Presentations  (powerpoints)  and  audio  files  (podcasts)  of  the  presentations  given  at  the  events  can  be  accessed  from  the  project  website:  www.urbanfoodjustice.org.   The  speakers  included:  -­‐ Stella  Keenan  (Contamination  Unit,  Leeds  City  Council):  “Soil  contamination.  The  role  and  policy  of  Leeds  City  Council”  -­‐ Sarah-­‐Jane  Mason  (Royal  Horticultural  Society,  Yorkshire  Regional  Office):  “An  overview  of  composting  techniques  and  a  practical  workshop:  let’s  build  a  wormery”  -­‐ Niels  Corfield  and  Pete  Tetham  (Edible  Cities  and  Leeds  Permaculture  network):  “Bioremediation,  mycoremediation  and  soil  structure  improvement.  How  plants  and  mushrooms  can  help  improve  the  soil”.  -­‐ Andy  Ross  (University  of  Leeds):  Biochar  for  fertility  and  greenhouse  gas  reduction  -­‐ David  Hutchinson  (Yorkshire  Charcoal):  low  scale  biochar  production:  a  demonstration   Images:  -­‐  A  demonstration  on  DIY  biochar  making  Sources:  Author’s  own     These  workshops,  which  included  practical  activities  around  compost  and  bio-­‐char  making,  have  been  very  well  attended  by  local  food  growers.  What  has  emerged  from  them  is  the  need  to  create  a  soil  quality  support  network  that  can  provide  the  circulation  of  specific  knowledge  for  environmentally  sound  soil  management  and  improvement.    30   Three  initiatives  have  been  established  in  Leeds  in  order  to  achieve  this:  a  soil  testing  support  group,  a  participatory-­‐research  group  on  biochar  (Leeds  Biochar  Initiative),  and  an  agroecology  and  urban  metabolism  research  group.  Soil  testing  support   Participants  in  the  social  platform/our  events  (do  you  need  to  explain  what  this  is?)  have  clearly  expressed  an  interest  in  having  their  soil  tested.  Feed  Leeds  has  agreed  to  take  this  demand  forward  and  to  identify  and  facilitate  the  stipulation/creation  of  a  collective  contract  to  test  the  soil  at  a  reasonable  price,  and  to  help  with  its  interpretation.  This  is  currently  being  arranged  with  the  support  of  the  council.   Leeds  Biochar  Initiative  The  Leeds  Biochar  Initiative  is  a  participatory  data  collection  project  aimed  at  experimenting  around  the  benefits  of  biochar  as  soil  improver.  Biochar  is  a  sort  of  charcoal  made  by  burning  organic  matter  (i.e.  wood  and  twigs)  in  a  reduced  oxygen  environment,  at  a  certain  temperature.  The  process  is  called  pyrolysis.  The  Leeds  Biochar  Initiative  has  been  established  by  Dr  Andy  Ross  (Engineering,  University  of  Leeds)  and  Dr  Chiara  Tornaghi  (Geography,  University  of  Leeds),  with  the  support  of  Barney  Thompson,  thanks  to  a  Seed  Corn  Funding  from  the  Leeds  Social  Science  Institute.  The  initiative  has  built  on  the  demands  raised  by  the  participants  of  Social  platform  Workshop  3  (December  2012)  who  expressed  their  interest  in  being  part  of  a  soil  quality  network.  A  subsequent  workshop  was  organised  in  June  2013  (Workshop  6)  with  a  series  of  presentations  (including  Dr  Andy  Cross  from  the  UK  Biochar  Research  Centre,  Edinburgh,  http://www.biochar.org.uk/list_of_publications.php)  and  the  distribution  of  a  Biochar  toolkit.  There  are  at  the  moment  about  30  participants  who  have  received  a  Biochar  Toolkit  and  that  are  collecting  data  with  their  soil  and  plants.  To  find  out  more  about  this  initiative  or  to  be  involved  you  can  contact:  leedsbiocharinitiative@gmail.com.  Images:  two  comparisons  of  crops  grown  in  soil  with,  or  without,  biochar  Source:  http://www.bigbiocharexperiment.co.uk/      Agroecology  and  urban  metabolism  research  group  A  third  initiative,  under  the  �Agroecology  and  urban  metabolism  research  group’  (currently  seeking  funding)  is  the  establishment  of  a  Leeds-­‐initiated  participatory  research  project  looking  into  how  to  close  food  loops,  recycling  kitchen  and  garden  waste  and  producing  compost  where  the  type  of  nutrients  is  controlled  (i.e.  phosphorous  rich  compost,  nitrogen  rich,  potassium  rich,  etc.)  so  that  the  gardener  can  become  self  sufficient  in  controlling  and   31   improving  the  soil  depending  on  the  type  of  crops  they  are  growing  and  the  stage  of  the  growing  cycle.   More  information  on  urban  metabolism  can  be  found  here:  COST  UAE  –  WG5  Urban  Agriculture  Metabolism,  http://www.urbanagricultureeurope.la.rwth-­‐
aachen.de/action/working-­‐groups/wg-­‐5-­‐urban-­‐agriculture-­‐metabolism.html   This  is  a  working  group  within  a  European  network  comprising  more  than  120  researchers  on  urban  agriculture.  The  subgroup,  co-­‐chaired  by  Chiara  Tornaghi  (University  of  Leeds)  and  Luke  Beesley  (The  James  Hutton  Institute)  look  into  knowledge  sharing  and  knowledge  gaps  with  the  aim  of  closing  metabolic  cycles  in  cities.    Image:  closed  food  loops   Source:  http://www.garick.com/Blog/tabid/105/catid/5/Environmental.aspx    Beyond  soil  constraints  While  urban  soil  quality  is  surely  a  matter  of  concern,  this  should  not  be  taken  as  an  absolute  limiting  factor.  A  range  of  alternative  growing  techniques  or  spaces  are  being  used  and  invented  in  urban  agriculture.  This  is  possibly  one  of  the  most  creative  elements  of  urban  food  growing.  Growing  in  containers  for  example,  is  particularly  useful  when  soil  is  polluted,  or  when  no  land  is  available:  for  example  when  the  growing  space  is  a  balcony,  a  concreted  yard,  a  rooftop,  or  when  the  land  is  given  as  “meanwhile  use”,  and  therefore  the  site  might  have  to  be  vacated  with  short  notice.  Growing  containers  can  be  made  with  recycled  materials  (tins,  jars,  boots,  milk  bottles,  sinks,  etc.),  can  be  filled  with  layers  of  topsoil  or  gardening  compost  (both  available  in  garden  centres),  or  (better)  with  kitchen  waste,  leaves  and  shredded  paper,  that  will  eventually  decompose.     32   Vertical  gardens  and  hydroponics  are  used  to  maximise  the  use  of  vertical  space.   Builders  bags,  reclaimed  wood,  plastic  gutters,  can  also  find  a  second  and  third  life  in  food  growing  projects.   There  are  a  number  of  design  manuals  and  toolkits  that  help  with  creative  recycling  and  design  for  urban  food  growing.   One  of  these  is  “Back  to  Front  –  Manual  for  growing  food  in  front  gardens”,  downloadable  here:  http://www.backtofront.org.uk/wp-­‐content/uploads/2013/03/backtofrontmanual.pdf  The  manual  has  been  published  in  Leeds  in  connection  with  the  Back  to  Front  gardening  project,  an  initiative  looking  to  promote  food  growing  in  small  front  yards.  The  booklet  contains  a  number  of  interesting  ways  to  recycle  home  waste  and  to  build  growing  containers  which  are  versatile  and  suitable  for  small  yards.   Image:  modular  containers  for  growing  in  front  gardens    Source:  Back  to  Front  Manual,  Leeds    Another  interesting  source  of  inspiration  for  the  design  of  growing  containers  is  the  project  Sow  And  Grow  Everywhere  (SAGE),  in  Glasgow.  The  project  helped  to  develop  a  number  of  community  gardens  in  concreted  areas  where  soil  was  not  available  or  too  polluted  to  be  used.  The  designers  have  developed  a  modular  growing  space  which  used  wood  pallets  and  builders  bags,  and  that  could  be  converted  into  a  greenhouse.  The  design  and  details  can  be  accessed  in  their  Final  report  (see  pages  58-­‐60  in  particular),  which  can  be  downloaded  here:  http://transitionculture.org/wp-­‐content/uploads/Glasgow-­‐food-­‐growing-­‐report.pdf   Glasgow:  Containers  which  can  be  turned  into  greenhouses,  made  of  recycled  materials     33     Source:  SAGE  Sow  and  Grow  Everywhere  (above)  and  Author’s  own  (below),  Glasgow     So,  to  summarise,  here  below  is  a  table  that  can  give  you  an  overview  of  the  issues  you  might  want  to  consider  in  your  food-­‐growing  project,  when  dealing  with  soil  quality.    Table:  a  summary  of  key  tips  for  sustainable  urban  soil  management   Pollution  A  physical  barrier  (a  edge,  a  bush,  flowers…)  of  about  50  cm  from  a  road  is  usually  advisable  to  protect  the  crops  from  car  air  pollution  when  growing  food  in  urban  environments.  Washing  the  produce  carefully  is  essential.  If  the  soil  has  been  next  to  factories,  or  used  for  polluting  activities  that  leaked  into  the  soil  (i.e.  paints,  chemicals,  heavy  metals)  it  is  advisable  to  cover  it  with  half  a  meter  of  soil  (and  possibly  put  a  barrier  between  the  old  soil  and  the  new  growing  soil,  for  example  a  layer  of  wood  or  plastic).   Soil  Ph  Adding  organic  materials  (compost,  leaves,  manure)  on  a  regular  basis  is  usually  enough  to  balance  slightly  acidic  or  slightly  alkaline  soils.  Extremely  unbalanced  soils  are  rare.  Fertility  Nitrogen,  Phosphorous  and  Potassium  are  three  key  elements  for  the  development  of  a  plant.  A  compost  made  of  kitchen  waste,  leaves,  paper  or  light  cardboard,  and  possibly  urine  (diluted)  is  usually  rich  in  all  these  elements  and  should  be  added  to  your  soil  each  year,  in  winter.  Fertility  and  Biochar,  a  fine  type  of  charcoal,  when  mixed  with  the  soil  (about  10-­‐15%  greenhouse  in  the  first  10cm  of  soil)  can  improve  soil  fertility  quite  dramatically,  it  gasses  control  retains  soil  moisture  and  reduces  the  need  for  fertilisers.  It  makes  the  soil  slightly  alkaline,  so  acid-­‐soil-­‐loving  plants  will  not  benefit  from  it  (i.e.  onions  and  garlic)  unless  you  compensate  with  something  slightly  acid  (such  as  urine,  for  example).  Adding  biochar  to  compost  reduces  greenhouse  gas  emissions.   Closed  food  Recycling  food  waste  (egg  shells,  meat  bones,  peelings,  leftover  cooked  loops  food,  etc.),  animal  waste  and  human  waste  (also  called  �humanure’),  as  well  as  grey  water  (i.e.  water  used  for  washing)  and  rain  water,  can  close  food  loops.  This  means  that  by  composting  this  waste  appropriately  we  can  produce  a  rich  compost  to  go  back  to  our  soil,  and  prevent  soil  depletion.   If  you  want  to  know  more  about  composting  human  manure,  which  is  an  excellent  way  to  reuse  something  available  and  very  nutrients-­‐rich,  here  below  you  will  find  the  details  of  a  couple  of  key  books  to  get  to  know  more:   34   -­‐
-­‐
Steinfield  C.  (2007),  Liquid  gold.  The  lore  and  logic  of  using  urine  to  grow  plants,  Totnes:  Green  Books  Jenkins  Joseph  (2005),  The  humanure  handbook,  Grove  City,  PA:  Joseph  Jenkins  Inc.  An  finally,  if  you  want  to  adopt  a  growing  method  that  tries  to  minimise  human  labour,  maximize  produce,  learn  form  how  plants  species  interact  in  nature  and  embed  these  into  the  design  of  a  productive  garden  in  view  of  closing  the  loops  of  energy  and  resources,  you  might  want  to  explore  principles  of  “permaculture”.  The  national  British  association  of  Permaculture  is  based  in  Leeds,  at  Hollybush  (they  run  Permaculture  Design  courses  every  year),  and  their  website  is:  https://www.permaculture.org.uk/  .    Images:  an  old  bath  reused  to  grow  fruit  bushes  and  flowers  (left)  and  an  allotment  plot  with  containers  for  disabled  gardeners  (Newcastle)      Source:  author’s  own     35   4.  Edible  landscape,  food  commons,  food  sovereignty   Food  sovereignty  and  urban  food  commons  Together  with  water,  air  and  shelter,  food  is  an  essential  element  for  the  survival  and  reproduction  of  human  beings.  While  we  are  now  accustomed  to  be  deprived  of  land  in  general,  and  especially  for  growing  food,  and  to  turn  to  shops  and  supermarkets  for  our  food  provision,  this  is  not  the  norm  everywhere  on  the  planet.  In  this  chapter  we  explore  some  of  the  ideas  related  to  edible  landscapes  and  the  availability  of  free  food  in  an  urban  environment.  The  recent  spikes  in  food  prices  (2008,  2011)  connected  to  climate  change  (draught  and  loss  of  produce),  biofuel  production  (fields  formerly  used  for  cereals  converted  to  produce  crops  for  making  fuel),  and  food  commodities  speculation  in  financial  markets  (complex  systems  of  investments  in  food  that  artificially  raised  food  prices,  similar  to  speculation  in  housing  markets),  and  which  were  crucial  in  the  uprising  of  the  Arab  Spring,  have  brought  the  issue  of  food  security  to  the  fore  in  many,  if  not  all,  countries.  Many  governments  have  started  to  be  concerned  about  food.  Countries  with  an  expanding  population,  (like  China),  or  with  arid  lands  (like  Egypt,  or  the  United  Arab  Emirates)  have  started  to  buy  land  abroad  (i.e.  in  Africa)  to  ensure  enough  agricultural  land  for  their  populations.   It  is  not  just  governments  and  international  agencies  (i.e.  FAO,  the  Food  and  Agriculture  Organisation  of  the  United  Nations)  that  are  concerned  about  food  insecurity:  a  number  of  local  and  international  grassroots  movements  have  also  intensified  their  claims  around  food,  but  they  frame  it  using  the  term  “food  sovereignty”,  rather  than  food  security.   Food  sovereignty  is  defined  as  “the  right  of  peoples  to  healthy  and  culturally  appropriate  food  produced  through  ecologically  sound  and  sustainable  methods,  and  their  right  to  define  their  own  food  and  agriculture  systems”  (Via  Campesina’s  Nyeleni  Declaration,  2007).  Rather  than  focussing  merely  on  food  availability  and  access  (i.e.  affordability,  local  distribution),  which  doesn’t  say  much  about  the  operation  of  the  multinational  organisations  who  control  food  production  and  trade,  the  concept  of  food  sovereignty  includes  ethical  and  justice  dimensions  (i.e.  what  type  of  food  is  available,  how  it  was  grown,  by  who  it  was  grown,  and  who  has  access  to  it).  Thinking  about  how  we  feed  ourselves,  and  our  right  to  grow  food  brings  us  back  to  the  idea  of  commons  and  makes  it  particularly  relevant  to  discuss  the  idea  of  “urban  food  commons”.   If  commons  are  all  those  material  and  immaterial  things  that  belong  to  everyone  (i.e.  air,  internet,  heritage,  etc.),  food  commons  are  all  those  things  such  as  knowledge  on  how  to  grow,  existence  and  protection  of  pollinators,  preservation  of  the  genetic  qualities  of  species,  availability  of  land  and  water  to  grow  food,  etc.  that  make  it  possible  to  produce  food  sustainably  and  to  share  it  equitably.   There  are  a  wide  range  of  projects  that  are  relevant  for  the  re-­‐creation  of  “urban  food  commons”:  edible  landscapes  open  to  all,  such  as  orchards  in  public  parks;  open  space  community  gardens  where  everyone  can  plant  and  everyone  can  harvest;  private  property  managed  collectively  to  produce  food  for  sharing,  and  in  general  projects  where  common  resources  (i.e.  land,  water)  are  shared  for  producing  food,  which  is  recognised  as  a  right  which  should  be  accessible  and  potentially  grown  by  everyone.   A  number  of  communities,  from  Transition  groups  to  squatters  to  community  food  growers,  have  initiated  food  growing  projects  with  the  intention  of  re-­‐imagining  and  practicing  a   36   different  city,  reclaiming  land  from  development,  building  an  urban  environment  where  food  is  not  a  commodity,  but  rather  a  central  and  more  normal  element  of  the  landscape,  and  the  basis  for  new  urban  food  commons  (i.e.  Grow  Heathrow,  Edible  Public  Space).   These  projects  claim  the  social,  cultural  and  political  importance  of  creating  growing  space  outside/beyond  monetised  relationships  (e.g.  food  growing  spaces  where  food  is  not  sold,  but  shared),  and  to  rethink  the  city  as  a  space  that  is  shared  with  other  species,  from  bees  to  edible  plants.   Image:  inside  one  of  the  reclaimed  abandoned  greenhouses,  Grow  Heathrow,  Sipson  (Greater  London)  Source:    Alongside  this  hands-­‐on  approach  to  food  growing  and  accessing  the  land,  there  are  planners  circles  (i.e.  PNUK)  that  are  promoting  a  public  debate  on  land  reform,  looking  into  changes  in  land  tenure  that  are  “progressive,  interventionist,  redistributive,  and  seeks  to  secure  social  and  environmental  justice”   (Onthecommons.org):   “Land  is  a  form  of  commons—something  we  all  share  the  same  as  we  do  air,  water,  scientific  knowledge,  and  the  Internet.  People  can  use  these  commons  for  their  own  livelihood,  but  cannot  diminish  them  for  future  generations.  When  the  interests  of  the  earth  and  the  community  are  prioritized,  private  property  can  be  treated  as  a  commons.”    Public  orchards  and  community  gardens  With  a  different  range  of  motivations,  there  are  also  a  number  of  local  councils  that  –  while  less  explicitly  radical  –  are  engaged  with  forms  of  re-­‐creation  of  the  commons,  for  example  planting  public  orchards  and  edible  plants  on  public  land.    37   Middlesbrough  has  invested  considerably  in  planting  fruit  trees  in  public  parks.  While  this  will  not  produce  large  amounts  of  fruit  in  the  short  term,  it  surely  represents  an  investment  for  the  future,  and  an  inspiration  for  the  present.   Image:  A  public  orchard  in  Middlesbrough   Source:  Author’s  own   A  similar  approach  is  the  one  adopted  by  many  community  gardens  which  are  unfenced:  they  encourage  people  to  learn  about  food,  to  see  edible  plants,  to  touch  and  to  harvest  the  produce,  whether  or  not  they  have  been  involved  in  planting  and  looking  after  the  plants.  They  see  this  as  form  of  education:  letting  people  see  food  growing  in  the  urban  environment  is  not  only  a  way  to  share  the  beauty  of  nature,  but  also  a  way  to  inspire,  to  educate  and  to  normalise  food  growing  in  publicly  accessible  open  space.   Images:  The  Edible  Public  Space  garden  in  the  making,  Leeds.  A  completely  accessible  community  garden  (left);  A  (right)  and  an  orchard  in  the  Childen’s  Garden  in  Glasgow  (right)  Source:  Author’s  own     Alongside  community  gardens,  a  number  of  other  initiatives  are  aimed  at  increasing  the  resources  we  share.  LandShare,  the  initiative  that  we  have  mentioned  above,  helps  people  with  no  land  to  find  a  landowner/garden-­‐owner  willing  to  share  land,  is  helping  hundreds  of   38   people  to  be  part  of  embryonic  forms  of  rebuilding  the  commons.  These  are  opportunities  for  sharing  skills,  sharing  land  and  sharing  produce.  More  sophisticated  (and  more  extensive)  forms  of  re-­‐building  land  commons  are  land  trusts,  such  as  the  Biodynamic  Land  Trust  in  the  UK,  and  the  Terre  de  Lien  in  France.  For  more  info  and  discussions  on  land  reform  and  food  commons  and  land  as  a  common  resource,  you  can  visit:  • Planners  network  UK:  Manifesto  for  land  reform  in  Britain.  Environmental  reorientation  of  planning,  seek  to  secure  social  and  environmental  justice.  Increase  role  of  planning  in  agriculture  –  promote  food  security:  http://pnuk.wikispaces.com/file/view/20121027pnukmanifesto.pdf   • Biodynamic  Land  Trust  –  Land  as  a  common  http://www.biodynamiclandtrust.org.uk/blog/7-­‐reasons-­‐why-­‐land-­‐essential-­‐
commons   • The  Food  Commons  project:  http://www.onthecommons.org/sites/default/files/The%20Food%20Commons-­‐
2010.pdf    Foraging  and  harvesting  The  existence  of  food  that  is  freely  available  in  the  city  brings  us  to  reflect  on  skills  and  behaviours  when  harvesting  and  foraging.   Community  gardens  that  encourage  people  to  pick  the  produce  sometimes  face  the  problem  of  plants  being  snapped,  damaged  or  uprooted.  Sometimes  fruit  and  veg  can  be  picked  when  they  are  not  ready,  or  there  are  none  left  for  seed  saving  at  the  end  of  the  year.  Overpicking  is  also  the  main  cause  of  unsustainable  foraging,  and  it  can  result  in  unjust  excessive  appropriation  of  shared  resources,  as  well  as  the  loss  of  biodiversity.   To  explore  some  of  these  issues,  which  are  sometimes  associated  with  the  decision  (especially  on  behalf  of  local  authorities)  to  avoid  planting  edible  species  in  the  first  place,  we  invited  two  speakers  to  the  social  platform  to  discuss  their  experience  with  us.  Siham  Bortcosh  presented  the  results  of  her  research,  which  explores  the  attitude  and  approaches  of  a  group  of  landscape  managers  to  the  inclusion  of  edible  plants  in  public  landscapes  in  greater  London,  including  the  associated  benefits,  challenges  and  practical  considerations;  Mina  Said,  forager  and  foraging  educator,  presented  her  work  and  demonstrated  the  variety  of  edible  plants  already  available  in  the  city.   We  then  discussed  5  key  questions  with  the  participants  at  the  event.  While  the  result  of  this  workshop  will  be  presented  in  more  detail  in  the  second  published  booklet  (Policy  Brief  and  Implementation  guide),  here  I  am  reporting  some  of  the  outcomes,  which  will  be  relevant  to  urban  food  growers  willing  to  think  more  broadly  about  the  general  meaning  of  accessible  urban  food,  and  some  associated  issues  of  behaviour  and  justice.   1. Food  growing  in  public  space  is  not  necessarily  a  matter  of  contention.  Stealing  is  not  usually  an  issue,  but  if  it  is,  the  best  way  to  combat  it  is  to  normalise  the  existence  of  food  in  public  space,  by  multiplying  growing  spaces.   2. Freely  accessible  food  can  be  found  in  parks  and  urban  greens,  but  it  could  also  be  planted  on  street  verges,  car  parks,  new  development,  roundabouts,  roofs  of  public  institutions,  and  undeveloped  lots.    39   3. Changes  to  planning  regulations  (Localism  act)  could  be  advantageously  turned  to  embed  food  growing  spaces  in  neighbourhood  planning.  While  these  changes  would  be  led  by  local  communities,  the  council  can  develop  steering  documents  (as  in  the  case  of  Brighton),  especially  in  relation  to  the  planning  of  new  developments.   4. More  education  is  needed  to  grow  safely,  harvest  sustainably,  recognise  edible  plants  and  know  when  is  the  right  moment  to  harvest  them.  “Tweet  and  tell”  could  be  used  to  educate  and  encourage  picking  at  the  right  time.  Society  needs  to  re-­‐learn  how  to  share,  so  more  needs  to  be  done  to  promote  the  idea  of  community  ownership.  5. If  edible  spaces  were  mainstream  and  foraging  was  very  popular,  we  would  need  to  plan  wild  and  untouched  spaces,  but  we  would  also  have  a  society  with  a  greater  awareness  of  growing  food  and  better  resilience  to  food  insecurity  due  to  peak  oil  and  climate  change.  6. Foraging  alone  would  not  impact  on  the  local  economy,  but  if  it  was  associated  with  extensive  urban  agriculture  (for  example  in  the  form  of  Community  Interest  Companies)  it  could  impact  on  the  job  profile  of  the  city,  boost  the  green  economy,  change  consumer  choices  and  improve  work-­‐life  balance  and  happiness.    Image:  Mina  Said  (right)  and  Leeds  Urban  Harvest  members,  foraging   Source:  courtesy  Leeds  Urban  Harvest  (top  left),  forager  Mina  Said  website’s  www.msitu.co.uk  (top  right  and  bottom  left)  and  www.onethecommons.org  (bottom  right)          40   5.  Promoting  community  health  and  cohesion  through  food  growing   The  challenge  of  health  and  social  service-­‐led  food  growing  projects  A  number  of  community  gardens  are  run  (or  hosted)  by  organisations  that  seek  to  promote  social  cohesion  -­‐  such  as  better  community  relations  and  collaboration  between  neighbours  -­‐  and  health,  such  as  mental  health  and  healthy  eating.   Healthy  Living  Networks,  young  offenders  probation  services,  hospitals,  protected  homes  for  single  mothers,  street  drinker  rehabilitation  services,  mental  health  support  centres,  food  banks,  faith  based  organisations,  refugee  and  asylum  seeker  food  growing  projects,  are  just  a  few  examples  of  the  type  of  organisations  that  have  established  �healing  gardens’  and  food  growing  projects  of  some  sort.   Images:  a  self  built  greenhouse  and  exotic  vegetables  in  a  community  gardens  for  asylum  seekers  and  refugees  Source:  author’s  own     These  organisations  have  turned  to  food  growing  for  a  number  of  reasons:  growing  food  has  been  proved  to  be  beneficial  because  brings  the  opportunity  for  a  deeper  contact  with  nature,  its  colour,  smells,  and  enchanting  power,  which  has  healing  effects  (to  know  more,  see  the  Ecominds  project:  http://www.mind.org.uk/ecominds  ).   Growing  food  also  requires  some  skills,  and  their  acquisition  can  improve  self-­‐esteem  and  even  be  a  motivation  for  acquiring  further  skills.  Some  individuals  who  have  been  out  of  work  (for  part  or  all  of  their  life)  can  find  this  work  bearable  and  indeed  enjoyable.  These  projects  also  offer  the  opportunity  for  people  with  similar  problems,  to  share  time  while  doing  something  that  is  not  talking  or  thinking  about  their  problems,  but  indeed  a  convivial  and  playful  activity.  When  these  gardening  groups  are  not  closed,  but  actually  open  to  the  whole  community,  they  also  offer  the  opportunity  for  mingling,  re-­‐building  relations  between  individuals  who  have  been  isolated  for  some  time  and  long  term  local  residents.  These  projects,  however,  face  a  number  of  problems.  The  first  and  foremost  is  their  isolation.  Gardening  sessions  are  often  run  by  paid  staff,  people  attending  the  sessions  are  often  transient  individuals  in  need  of  care,  the  gardens  are  located  within  the  walls  of  the  institutions  (enclosed  gardens,  rooftops),  and  even  when  they  are  not  so  (i.e.  allotment   41   plots),  or  when  they  are  openly  accessible  to  everyone,  in  reality  they  are  not  often  very  integrated  into  the  community  and  life  of  the  neighbourhood.  So,  the  main  challenge  here,  alongside  the  need  to  ensure  a  continuity  for  paid  staff  to  run  the  gardening  sessions,  is  how  to  match  the  needs  of  these  organisations  to  run  initiatives  that  create  opportunities  for  social  cohesion,  mingling,  networking  –  which  can  provide  an  important  new  net  of  support  for  vulnerable  individuals  -­‐  and  the  interests  of  food  growers,  people  seeking  to  volunteer  in  community  gardening,  or  of  projects  that  look  for  more  gardeners  to  keep  them  going.  Is  there  a  way  to  avoid  social  service-­‐led  food  growing  projects  remaining  isolated?    Image:  a  rooftop  community  garden  enclosed  in  a  housing  estate  Source:  author’s  own    Food  growing  volunteering  platform  exchange  A  possible  solution  is  the  organisation  of  a  �volunteering  platform  exchange’:  matching  community  gardens  that  are  seeking  volunteers  and  health  services  running  (or  looking  for)  gardening  projects.  This  would  identify  those  community  gardens  that  are  in  need  of  more  volunteers  and  social  services  looking  for  ways  to  integrate  their  users  into  the  broader  community  while  doing  gardening.  This  would  involve  a  slight  change  to  the  ways  these  two  entities  currently  work:  1)  the  social  services,  which  often  struggle  to  find  a  suitable  place  to  bring  their  users  (i.e.  probation  services  looking  for  gardening  projects),  or  that  lack  funding  for  paying  a  trained  gardener  to  run  the  sessions,  instead  of  limiting  their  sessions  to  small  enclosed  spaces,  would  have  a  range  of  existing  community  gardens  scattered  around  the  city,  where  to  bring  the  users  on  an  occasional  or  regular  basis.  This  would  provide  excellent  opportunities  for  building  stronger  relations  with  local  activist  groups  and  local  residents.  The  accompanying  staff  wouldn’t  need  to  have  gardening  skills,  but  would  have  to  look  after  the  needs  of  the  people  they  are  bringing  along  (whether  they  are  people  with  learning  disabilities,  behavioural  problems,  mental  health  issues,  and  so  on,  it  is  essential  that  they  are  supported  throughout  the  gardening  session.    42   2)  The  community  gardening  group,  from  their  point  of  view,  rather  than  relying  on  the  energy  of  the  usual  one  or  two  gardening  enthusiasts,  would  enjoy  the  benefits  of  regular  (likely  unskilled)  gardeners,  for  which  some  guidance  will  be  needed.   Image:  two  gardens  of  the  Hyde  Park  neighbourhood  food-­‐growing  project  Source:  Author’s  own         The  platform  could  have  sophisticated  matching  devices  (for  example  ways  to  match  service  users  to  gardens  in  a  specific  area,  in  specific  environmental  settings,  or  just  simply  based  on  a  share  calendar,  updated  at  the  beginning  of  a  growing  season.   The  one  below  is  an  example  of  a  very  basic  calendar  of  gardening  parties  that  happened  on  a  weekly  basis  during  the  growing  season  in  2013.    It  was  developed  during  the  food  justice  workshop  5,  and  it  came  with  an  annexed  list  of  gardening  projects  which  did  not  have  a  specific  gardening  day,  but  that  were  open  to  volunteers:  for  example:  Green  Action  co-­‐op;  Edible  cities;  Edible  schools  project;  Kirkstall  Community  garden;  Pulse-­‐Pudsey  Queens  Park.     43   6.  The  economic  viability  of  urban  agriculture   Urban  agriculture  in  the  UK  is  mostly  a  grassroots  phenomenon.  Allotments,  schoolyard  gardens,  community  gardens:  these  are  all  excellent  learning  devices  for  re-­‐skilling,  community  building  and  the  promotion  of  healthy  behaviours,  run  by  volunteers  or  individuals  that  garden  in  their  spare  time.  Sometimes  they  are  partially  funded  by  grants  or  subsidies  for  the  social  benefits  that  they  bring  to  some  of  the  users.  However,  these  are  not  usually  economically  independent,  nor  do  they  have  a  substantial  impact  on  the  food  that  is  eaten  in  the  city.  Nonetheless,  urban  gardens,  and  urban  agriculture  more  in  general,  has  the  potential  to  be  an  economically  viable  activity,  and  to  produce  a  large  amount  of  food  consumed  in  a  city.  The  case  of  Cuba  is  well  known  for  having  been  able  to  produce  70%  of  Cuban’s  food,  with  little  use  of  mechanic  and  chemical  support.   More  and  more  urban  agriculturalists  are  looking  to  establish  self-­‐sustaining  projects.  In  this  chapter  we  look  at  some  of  the  motivations  of  these  urban  growers,  some  of  their  problems  and  a  few  pathways  towards  establishing  successful  projects.   Definitions:  what  does  �economically  viable’  mean?  An  urban  agricultural  project  can  be  defined  as  “economically  viable”  when:  - it  can  remunerate  (fairly)  the  time  (all  or  part  of  it)  that  people  spend  working  on  the  project;  - It  can  maintain  the  infrastructure  necessary  for  running  the  project  (rent,  machinery,  etc.)  Different  projects  might  have  different  expectations  and  more  precise  definitions  of  “viability”,  which  might  include  long-­‐term  costs:  for  example,  some  projects  start  with  a  �promotional’  land  lease,  given  at  a  discounted  rate  for  the  first  three  or  five  years.  Taking  into  account  the  full  cost  of  the  land  would  of  course  change  the  total  figures…  and  the  extent  to  which  a  project  is  currently  viable  or  not.   Not  all  urban  agricultural  projects  are  trying  to  be  economically  viable.  Many  people,  for  example,  are  happy  to  grow  food  as  a  leisure  activity  and  don’t  look  for  economic  remuneration  of  any  sort.  They  grow  food  in  their  allotment  or  in  a  community  garden,  and  they  can  afford  to  pay  the  cost  of  tools,  seeds  and  rent.   However,  for  some  other  projects,  the  ability  to  raise  funds  is  crucial  and  the  lack  of  economic  independence  is  a  problem.   Some  projects,  for  example,  aspire  to  grow  in  size  and  impact  (or  are  already  growing).  Some  “urban  harvest”  initiatives  are  so  successful  that  they  cannot  meet  the  demand  of  gardens  owners  to  go  to  pick  their  unwanted  fruit.  Some  smallholdings  are  trying  to  expand,  cultivate  more  land  and  produce  more  food.  They  would  like  to  pay  for  some  or  all  the  work  of  their  volunteers,  as  well  as  the  facilities  they  use,  and  create  local  green  jobs.  Sometimes  they  might  need  to  secure  the  skills  (and  the  people)  that  keeps  them  running,  and  would  like  to  offer  a  remunerated  post  in  order  to  do  this.  In  other  cases  they  may  need  to  replace  expensive  infrastructures  that  they  have  been  able  to  rent  with  a  small  or  short-­‐term  grant.  This  is  the  case,  for  example,  with  many  projects  that  tried  to  set  up  veg  box  schemes,  fresh  fruit  and  veg  mobile  selling  points  or  food  waste  collection.  Today  the  large  majority  of  existing  urban  food  growing  relies  exclusively  on  volunteers,  self-­‐exploitation  or  grants.  This  is  a  problem  in  particular  in  three  cases.    44   1.
2.
3.
 When  there  is  a  personal  aspiration  to  take  gardening  beyond  being  just  a  hobby,  recognise  the  importance  of  food  production  for  the  community  and  the  environment,  and  be  paid  for  the  time  dedicated  to  this  work:  in  short,  when  the  project  wants  to  become  a  sustainable  economic  activity.   When  the  fluctuation  in  the  number  of  volunteers  (or  in  the  market)  endangers  the  stability  of  the  project.  Lack  of  volunteers  to  harvest,  or  lack  of  market  demand  for  the  produce  creates  food  waste  and  discontinuity  in  services  (i.e.  distribution,  food  processing,  etc.)  and  endangers  the  long-­‐term  life  of  the  project,  as  it  encounters  the  risk  of  being  labelled  as  �unreliable’.   When  the  project  aims  to  become  a  viable  and  reliable  alternative  for  the  production  of  local  food.  Local  food  produced  by  smallholdings  has  been  (and  still  is)  feeding  the  world,  and  despite  the  West  being  accustomed  to  depending  on  large-­‐scale  industrial  agriculture,  an  exponentially  growing  number  of  projects  are  challenging  this  model,  looking  at  pathways  to  re-­‐design  short  food  supply  chains.   Image  -­‐  Sims  Hill  Shared  Harvest.  A  Community  Supported  Agriculture  project  in  Bristol   Source:  http://simshillsharedharvest.wordpress.com/2011/06/    Main  obstacles  to  economic  viability  There  are  various  types  of  constraints  to  achieving  economic  viability.  Some  of  these  can  be  addressed  within  the  project,  through  self-­‐education,  while  others  need  community  support.   1) Lack  of  time  or  capacity  to  raise  funding  or  to  develop  a  market/business  to  develop  the  project  further.  This  is  especially  the  case  with  small  and  un-­‐experienced  community  groups  or  projects  that  used  to  be  well  funded  and  are  now  hit  by  austerity  cuts.    45   2) Too  little  market  demand  for  local,  seasonal,  organic  food.  This  is  experienced  mostly  by  Community  Supported  Agriculture  projects  (CSAs)  and  small  businesses  aiming  to  expand  the  market.  3) High  costs  for  the  maintenance  and  running  of  infrastructure,  for  example  for  heating/lighting  systems  indoors  or  in  greenhouses,  or  refrigeration  for  storage  of  crops.   4) Consumers  used  to  artificially  low  food  prices.  The  prices  for  veg  that  we  are  normally  used  to,  are  low  because  they  don’t  pay  for  the  environmental  costs  (of  carbon  emissions,  for  example),  because  they  are  kept  low  through  subsidies  to  farmers,  because  they  are  grown  far  away  where  labour  costs  are  lower  (and  national  insurance  minimal  or  non-­‐existent)  or  because  they  don’t  properly  pay  the  growers.  Customers  are  rarely  aware  of  this,  so  the  market  is  driven  by  a  demand  for  low  price  crops,  and  this  makes  food  production  uneconomical  for  local  small  producers,  especially  organic,  that  aim  to  pay  a  fair  wage.     “Making  local  food  work”  was  a  project  funded  by  the  Plunkett  Foundation  (http://www.plunkett.co.uk/)  and  the  Lottery  Fund,  precisely  with  the  aim  of  supporting  the  start  up  and  viability  of  local  food  projects  –  not  necessarily  just  food  growing,  but  also  shops,  bakeries,  land  acquisitions,  etc.  Various  documents  are  available  on  their  website  (http://www.makinglocalfoodwork.co.uk/index.cfm),  as  well  as  a  range  of  case  studies.  This  is  a  good  way  to  start  exploring  possible  business  models  and  learn  about  dos  and  don’ts.  With  particular  regard  to  businesses,  they  offer  four  types  of  support:   • Face  to  face  advice  on  business  planning  and  marketing  for  social  enterprises  • Skillshare  mentoring:   one-­‐to-­‐one  visits  and  structured  mentoring  from  people  with  experience  • Skillshare  study  visits:  a  subsidised  and  facilitated  visit  to  successful  community  food  enterprises.   • Workshops  and  a  helpline  to  set  up  governance  and  legal  structures  to  ensure  the  sustainability  of  the  projects  Help  can  be  requested  from  the  Enterprise  Officer,  Richard  Snow,  by  emailing  richard.snow@plunkett.co.uk  or  calling  01993  814388.  Projects  that  are  solely  about  food  growing  are  notoriously  the  hardest  to  maintain.  Growing  Communities,  in  London,  which  is  probably  the  most  famous  food  growing  project  in  the  UK,  took  13  years  to  became  economically  viable.  So,  there  is  hope,  but  we  need  to  be  aware  that  some  structural  problems  need  to  be  overcome,  and  above  all  to  understand  that  the  food  we  find  on  the  shelves  of  shops  and  supermarkets  is  the  outcome  of  exploitation  or  unsustainable,  energy  intensive  and  polluting  food  growing  and  trading  practices.  Until  this  is  rectified  it  will  be  always  difficult  to  compete  with  supermarket  food  and  to  establish  local  food  chains.   Two  strategies  are  most  commonly  used  to  achieve  economic  viability:  integrate  food  growing  with  more  remunerative  activities,  such  as  leisure  or  educational  services,  and  the  creation  of  food  hubs  as  a  way  of  increasing  the  impact  of  locally-­‐produced  food  on  the  community.  The  first  entails  a  well  known  range  of  activities:  running  horticultural  and  woodland  management  sessions  (grafting,  pruning,  coppicing,  propagating,  tending,  etc.),  cooking  sessions,  permaculture  design,  introductory  sessions  for  beginners  or  for  schools,  setting  up  play  barns,  etc.  I  will  therefore  not  go  into  details  here.  I  will  instead  expand  on   46   the  emergence  of  food  hubs  as  strategies  for  achieving  greater  financial  sustainability  of  urban  agriculture  and  its  impact  on  the  food  system.    Image:  the  site  of  a  small  plant  nursery  in  an  urban  area  in  Leeds   Source:  Author’s  own     Food  hubs:  short  food  chains  reshaping  the  local  food  system  and  challenging  food  regimes  It  is  not  possible  to  give  an  exact  and  unique  definition  of  what  a  food  hub  is.  There  are  different  types  of  initiatives  that  go  under  this  name:  veg  box  schemes,  community  supported  agriculture  (CSAs),  community  shop  networks,  food  cooperatives,  food  growing  project  partnerships.  These  initiatives  have  in  common  the  fact  that  they  are  usually  bottom  up,  spontaneous,  civil  society-­‐led  attempts  to  encourage  the  offer  and  demand  for  local  food.  Generally  food  hubs  can  be  considered  as  sort  of  “intermediaries”,  agents  that  pool  together  producers,  distributors,  sellers  and  consumers,  and  that  by  doing  so  add  value  to  the  exchange  of  goods  and  promote  the  local  supply  chain  (Sustain  and  University  of  Glamorgan).  This  �value’  can  be  a  sense  of  cohesion  (small  businesses  getting  together  and  collaborating  with  each  other),  can  be  an  increased  number  of  local  jobs,  can  mean  keeping  economic  exchanges  local,  can  be  experimenting  with  new,  fairer,  economic  models,  improving  the  ecosystem,  reducing  the  carbon  footprint  of  the  city,  and  increasing  community  resilience  to  financial  and  climatic  turbulences.  Food  hubs  can  operate  on  four  levels:  1) They  bring  together  food  producers  (generally  small,  but  not  always)  to  coordinate  food  production.  This  means  sharing  resources,  from  land  to  transport,  and  make  them  more  able  to  offer  local  food  on  a  continued  basis  (when  some  of  them  might  fail  to  produce  a  crop,  for  example)  and  be  more  competitive  with  larger  businesses.   47   2) Target  food  sellers  (greengrocers,  restaurants)  and  persuading  them  to  buy  local.  Pushing  strategies  are  based  on  a  range  of  motivations,  from  freshness  and  taste  of  crops  to  ethical  dimensions.  In  some  cases  these  sellers  become  part  of  a  cooperative  system  with  the  producers.   3) Sensitize  consumers  to  buy,  and  to  demand,  local  food.  Consumers  can  become  parts  of  these  businesses  in  a  range  of  ways:  from  buying  veg  in  advance  (i.e.  in  community  supported  agriculture),  exchanging  labour  in  the  farms  for  discounted  prices  for  veg  boxes  or  dairy  and  meat,  or  simply  as  investors  and  share  holders.  4) Lobby  for  the  establishment  of  city  councils’  food  procurement  policies  that  support  local  food,  therefore  expanding  the  market  for  local  growers  and  sustaining  the  local  economy.  While  most  of  the  food  hubs  existing  in  the  UK  at  the  moment  are  relatively  small  scale,  the  number  of  city  councils  engaging  in  food  policies  is  increasing.  Bristol  is  an  exemplary  case  of  city  that  started  to  explore  where  food  comes  from  and  how  to  support  a  local  food  hub.  For  more  info  on  Bristol,  its  food  charter,  food  strategy,  food  assessment  and  food  policy  council,  see  the  following  links:   • http://www.bristol.gov.uk/page/environment/food-­‐policy-­‐bristol-­‐and-­‐food-­‐charter   • http://bristolfoodpolicycouncil.org/   Community  food  growing  has  the  potential  to  go  quite  far  and  become  an  important  element  of  more  healthy,  sustainable  and  ethical  food  systems.  If  your  project  wants  to  go  in  this  direction,  then  you  should  definitely  explore  further  some  of  the  issues  and  support  agencies  mentioned  in  this  chapter.   Image:  a  graphic  representation  of  a  food  hub  Source:  http://www.gourmetgorilla.com/?p=1221      48   7.  The  ethical  dimension  of  urban  agriculture:  building  sustainable  food  systems  and  strategies   In  the  last  chapter  we  started  to  discuss  urban  food  growing  in  a  much  broader  perspective  than  simply  looking  at  the  relations  that  occur  in  the  small  context  of  a  garden  and  its  growers.  We  have  seen  that  food  hubs  are  becoming  ways  of  coordinating  growers,  sellers  and  buyers,  and  changing  the  food  system.  Before  concluding  this  booklet,  I  would  like  to  spend  a  little  time  expanding  this  perspective  and  discussing  a  bit  further  the  ethical  dimensions  of  urban  agriculture.  I  will  start  by  giving  a  small  introduction  to  what  is  called  a  �food  system’  and  explain  what  a  sustainable  food  strategy  is  and  what  could  be  the  benefits  of  developing  one.   Food  systems  A  food  system  is  a  way  of  looking  at  food  more  broadly:  taking  into  account  not  only  who  has  (and  who  has  not)  access  to  food,  but  also  what  type  of  food  is  available  in  different  areas  of  the  city,  where  this  food  is  produced,  how  it  reflects  the  cultural  and  social  needs  of  the  local  community,  and  whether  its  production  has  been  beneficial  or  detrimental  for  the  environment.    Image:  Benefits  and  components  of  an  urban  food  system  Source:  Bohn  and  Viljoen     49   Current  UK  urban  food  systems  are  known  to  be  unsustainable  for  various  reasons.  These  includes  large  carbon  footprints  generated  in  shipping  food  from  distant  production  sites,  energy  intensive  production  technologies,  unfair  distribution  of  food  across  neighbourhoods  (for  example  areas  where  it  is  not  possible  to  buy  fresh  food  within  a  mile  or  more,  known  as  �food  deserts’),  excessive  offer  of  poor  quality  food  (i.e.  fast  food  and  take  away  shops)  leading  to  health  problems  including  obesity,  diabetes  and  more,  and  exploitative  pays  for  urban  food  producers/workers.   Urban  agriculture  and  local  food  sourcing,  combined  with  other  sustainability-­‐focused  procurement  and  buying  policies  (for  example  reducing  consumption  of  meat  and  buying  organic),  have  the  potential  to  form  core  elements  for  delivering  a  sustainable  and  just  food  system,  while  offering  secondary  health,  ecological  and  social  benefits  associated  with  enhanced  and  more  productive  urban  green  spaces.   A  number  of  British  cities  have  started  to  look  at  their  food  systems,  developing  food  charters  (maps  of  principles  and  aims)  or  food  strategies  (lists  of  actions  needed  to  achieve  their  aims).  Newcastle,  Manchester,  Birmingham,  Plymouth,  Brighton,  Bristol  and  London  have  all  engaged  with  these  in  partnership  with  third  sector  and  business  organisations.  In  most  of  these  cases,  the  leadership  of  this  process  is  given  to  a  reliable  third  sector  organisation  which,  in  partnership  with  representatives  of  the  council,  lead  in  the  process.  Food  charters  are  usually  short  documents,  on  1  or  2  pages,  with  key  guiding  principles,  that  are  agreed  by  a  number  of  key  players  in  a  city.  Food  strategies  are  much  longer  documents  that  look  at  all  the  processes  related  to  food  growing  (the  land  where  it  is  grown,  distribution,  packaging,  waste  collection)  and  the  sphere  of  life  that  relate  to  it  (who  is  producing,  who  is  consuming  and  who  is  not,  its  role  in  the  economic  system,  its  cultural  appropriateness,  etc.).   Image:  an  extract  from  the  Bristol  Food  Charter  Source:  http://www.bristol.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/environment/greener_living/food/The-­‐
Bristol-­‐good-­‐food-­‐charter.pdf    While  for  a  long  time  local  and  national  western  governments  (and  most  of  their  citizens)  have  taken  food  availability  for  granted.  The  recent  food  shortages,  forecasts  about  climate   50   change  and  food  insecurity,  as  well  as  the  exponential  number  of  people  in  food  poverty,  have  put  food  back  on  the  agenda.  When  you  start  to  reflect  on  food  a  number  of  crucial  issues  emerge:   • At  the  current  level  of  consumption,  a  city  has  on  average  3  days  of  food  autonomy,  after  which  it  runs  out  of  food.   • Many  people  have  completely  lost  cooking  skills.  So,  growing  food  can  be  of  little  interest  or  help  if  this  is  to  become  an  important  element  in  their  diet.  • Food  transport  and  waste  account  for  a  large  part  of  carbon  emissions.  Cutting  down  on  carbon  footprints  requires  changing  the  way  to  get  the  food  to  our  tables.  • One  in  3  people  on  the  planet  have  no  access  to  clean  water,  sanitation  and  adequate  food  but  nonetheless  we  keep  importing  food  from  developing  countries,  of  which  between  30%  to  50%  gets  wasted  on  the  way  here,  in  supermarkets  or  in  our  kitchens.  These  are  just  some  of  the  many  issues  that  need  to  be  addressed.  With  more  than  half  of  the  global  population  living  in  cities,  urban  agriculture  has  a  great  potential  to  tackle  some  of  these  issues  but  it  needs  to  be  embedded  into  the  broader  spectrum  of  policies  that  govern  our  cities.   With  this  aim,  a  number  of  cities  in  the  last  10  years  have  developed  food  strategies  or  food  policy  councils.  In  some  cities  these  strategies  have  had  little  impact  on  the  day  to  day  life  of  people,  but  in  others  they  are  being  monitored  for  impact  and  achievement  of  goals  and  revised  on  a  regular  basis.   The  first  wave  of  strategies  were  developed  around  2006  and  2007.  These  are  now  being  revised  with  more  sophisticated  studies,  for  example  with  an  analysis  of  the  specific  reduction  in  carbon  emissions  that  local  food  production  could  bring  (as  in  Manchester)  or  with  more  detailed  indicators  and  a  wider  number  of  partners  from  the  business  sector  that  commit  to  its  implementation.  A  key  element  for  the  successful  impact  of  these  strategies  is  the  achievement  of  a  wide  commitment  from  part  of  all  the  different  sectors  of  society,  from  single  individuals  (willing  to  minimise  waste,  or  to  re-­‐use  and  recycle,  for  example)  to  public  authorities,  the  voluntary   and  business  sectors.   If  you  want  to  take  inspiration  and  to  read  two  excellent  examples  of  food  strategies,  you  can  access  the  ones  developed  in  Manchester  and  in  Brighton  and  Hove,  which  are  known  to  be  the  first  developed  in  the  UK.  They  can  be  accessed  here:    •
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Manchester  Food  Strategy:  “Food  futures”  (2007),  available  here:  http://www.foodfutures.info/www/   Brighton  and  Hove  Food  Partnership:  http://www.bhfood.org.uk/  and  Food  Strategies  (2006  and  2012):  http://www.bhfood.org.uk/food-­‐strategy    In  Leeds,  which  had  a  food  strategy  for  a  while,  we  have  recently  held  two  workshops,  organised  by  the  Urban  Food  Justice  social  platform  in  collaboration  with  Feed  Leeds,  to  discuss  with  local  citizens  their  interests  in  reviving  the  strategy  (abandoned  in  2010)  and  rethinking  the  Leeds  food  system  more  broadly.  Below  is  the  outcome  of  the  workshops,  which  is  intended  to  be  some  initial  ideas  and  principles  shared  by  the  participants  rather  than  the  final  principles  of  a  new  city  wide  strategy.    51   Table:  summary  of  discussions  on  a  Leeds  Sustainable  Food  Strategy   Principles  -­‐  What  we  want  1 Sustainability  -­‐  Food  in  Leeds  will  be  sustainably  produced  and  sourced  within  50  miles  of  Leeds  and  food  waste  will  be  minimised  and  surplus  food  put  to  beneficial  usage  (e.g.  charitable  donations,  energy  production)   2 Health  and  education  -­‐  Healthy  (and  sustainable)  eating  will  be  encouraged  by  having  and  using  a  consistent  message  (food  messages  right  for  stage  of  life)  to  improve  health   3 Economic  resilience  -­‐  Growing  proportion  of  food  will  be  produced  in  Leeds  (“local  food”)  4 Justice  -­‐  Decommodification  of  food  to  enable  good  quality  food  at  right  prices  5 Ownership  by  the  public  Aims  Actions  Increase  environmental  sustainability  and  local  food  growing  Because  it  is  crucial  to  reduce  food  footprints  and  carbon  emissions  and  increase  resilience  Support  local  economic  development  through  the  promotion  of  local  food  consumption  and  production  Because  it  creates  jobs  and  promotes  food  security  (and  because  short  supply  chains  produce  less  waste  and  are  more  environmentally  sustainable)   • Facilitate  access  to  land.  Identify  council-­‐owned  land  suitable  for  commercial  (or  community)  food  growing  and  make  it  available   • Enable  community  composting  to  supply  food  growers’  with  organic  compost  • Encourage  food  foraging  and  food  swaps  (stalls  at  farmers  markets)  • Encourage  the  reduction  of  food  waste  throughout  the  supply  chain  in  Leeds  • Influence  Neighbourhood  Design  Statements  and  make  sure  they  drive  actions  • Assess  capacity  for  growing  already  and  link/support  through  the  Leeds  Food  Hub  (look  for  outlets  for  existing  growers)  • Encourage  new  food  businesses  alongside  food  growing  • Use  “waste”  heat  to  help  growing  spaces  i.e.  polytunnels  by  crematorium  • Street  food,  pop  up  shops  • Encourage  retailers  headquartered  in  our  region  to  further  develop  their   local  food  policies,  and  to  source  food  locally  • Change  procurement  policies  (supply  to  schools  and  hospitals)  Promote  healthy  eating  consistently  (limit  take-­‐aways)  Liaise  with  former  ALMOs  to  deliver  estate  growing/cooking  classes  Promote  food  growing,  seasonality  and  cooking  in  all  Leeds  schools   Training  new  farmers,  links  to  local  agricultural  colleges  and  farm  start  project  • Offer  cheap  compost  bins  to  Leeds  residents  • Promote  local  food  celebrations  (via  Education  Leeds,  Schools  Network,  Red  Hall)  Research  needed:   1)  Where  is  food  produced  and  sold.  2)  What  is  consumed.  3)  What  could  be  produced  locally.  4)  What  campaigns/education  are  successfully  driving  behavioural  (consumption)  change  Source:  Author’s  own  elaboration  based  on  minutes  and  flipcharts  Promote  food  education  and  public  awareness  around  food  quality  and  food  growing  Because  it  is  integral  to  all  the  aims  and  because  it  is  the  foundation  for  good  health  •
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  Details  of  the  old  Leeds  Food  Strategy  and  Action  Plan  (2006),  are  available  here:  http://www.leedsinitiative.org/healthy/page.aspx?id=4344    There  is  currently  a  working  group  in  the  making,  willing  to  hold  further  public  discussions.  If  you  want  to  be  involved,  please  email  chiara.tornaghi@gmail.com.     52   8.  Conclusions.  From  Urban  Agriculture  to  Urban  food  justice   In  this  booklet  we  have  presented  some  of  the  main  issues  that  citizens  and  community  groups  face  when  they  want  to  start  growing  food  in  urban  areas.  These  issues,  each  discussed  in  an  individual  chapter,  are  interrelated  with  issues  of  social  and  environmental  justice:  1. Land  access.  Access  urban  land  that  is  appropriate  for  the  specific  type  of  food  growing  project  (location,  quality,  accessibility,  tenure).  2. Ability  to  exercise  control  on  soil  quality,  both  in  terms  of  affording  to  test  and  understanding  the  quality  of  soil  and  having  access  to  means/skills  to  improve  it.  3. Existence  and  viability  of  edible  landscapes  where  to  forage.  Sustainable  approaches  to  foraging.  Food  sovereignty  and  the  creation  of  urban  food  commons.  4. Support  in  publicising  gardening  initiatives  and  maintaining  a  sufficient  number  of  volunteers  to  sustain  the  projects.  Importance  of  social  inclusion  and  growing  together  as  an  element  of  social  cohesion.  5. Economic  viability  of  small  entrepreneurial  food  growing  projects.  Tackling  food  regimes  without  falling  into  the  trap  of  ecological  security.   6. Ability  to  influence  sustainable  food  policies.  Lobbying  for  food  justice.  It  is  time  now  to  summarise  what  we  have  come  to  understand,  during  this  research,  as  urban  food  justice.    Urban  food  justice  A  more  punctual  definition  of  urban  food  justice  takes  into  account  the  wide  range  of  ethical  dimensions  involved  in  people’s  approach  to  food  growing  and  eating,  and  goes  beyond  the  simplistic  view  that  food  justice  is  about  food  access  for  all.    Social  JusQce:  Access  to  quality  food  Food  choice  Fair  produce  share  Economic  JusQce:  Right  to  fair  pay  (ability  to  overcome  voluntarism  and  self-­‐exploitanon  in  UA)  Right  to  build  alternanves  to  the  current  food  regime   CapabiliQes  JusQce:   Procedural  jusQce:  Skills  to  access  key  resources  (i.e.  land)  Skills  to  understand  soil  tesnng  Environmental  JusQce:  Land  access  Soil  and  water  quality  Right  to  grow  Right  to  forage  Right  of  civil  society  to  take  ininanve  to  change  urban  agriculture  and  food  sustainability  policy  Urban  Food  Jusmce  Food  sovereignty:  Right  to  culturally  appropriate  food  Right  to  ethical  consumpnon   Image:  Definition  of  Urban  Food  Justice                                                 Source:  Author’s  own  elaboration   53   Environmental  justice  Imagine  if  tomorrow  the  government  asked  you  to  pay  a  fee  for  the  air  you  breathe.  You  would  probably  find  it  ridiculous.  Imagine  though  if  this  fee  is  to  pay  for  an  air  filter  for  your  house  because  urban  air  has  become  too  polluted.  You  might  start  to  find  this  acceptable.  This  resembles  the  story  of  water  privatisation.  Although  water  access  is  still  available  in  various  parts  of  western  cities,  citizens  have  started  to  accept  that  water  isn’t  anymore  a  public  good.  The  story  of  land  alienation,  and  the  loss  of  the  right  to  forage  or  to  land  for  food  growing  is  older  and  more  complicated.  Nonetheless,  we  now  live  in  a  society  where  we  no  longer  have  the  right  to  food  autonomy.  It  is  now  completely  normal  to  sell  our  time  in  a  waged  job  in  order  to  buy  food  and  pay  water  bills  (alongside  other  items  for  consumption).  However  common  this  might  seem  to  us,  it  isn’t  like  this  everywhere  on  Earth.  There  are  still  societies  where  the  planet  and  its  resources  are  considered  a  common  good  that  cannot  be  appropriated,  and  land  is  managed  to  grow  food  and  raise  animals,  to  forage  and  to  go  hunting.  The  first  component  of  a  contemporary,  renewed  look  at  urban  food  justice  is  therefore  “environmental  justice”,  where  we  acknowledge  that  citizens  in  cities  of  the  global  North  live  in  societies  where  land,  as  a  primary  source  of  food,  has  been  appropriated  and  access  to  the  natural  environment  is  unevenly  distributed  among  the  population,  and  this  constitutes  a  matter  of  concern.  Capability  justice  While  some  land  is  now  being  made  available  to  local  communities  to  grow  food,  not  all  entitled  citizens  have  the  knowledge  and  skills  to  access  the  relevant  information  to  apply  for  it.  People  also  have  a  limited  ability  to  understand  soil  testing,  which  is  sometimes  necessary  in  order  to  grow  food  safely  in  an  urban  environment.  Capacities  and  knowledge  are  therefore  crucial  to  access  resources  that  can  enable  healthy  food  growing.  Some  segments  of  the  population  have  also  lost  almost  completely  cooking  skills,  which  are  necessary  to  transform  most  of  the  fresh  produce  into  food.  This  lack  of  capabilities  is  crucial  even  among  committed  and  expert  growers  and  needs  to  be  addressed.  Procedural  justice  While  food  production,  food  transport  and  food  waste  management  are  impacting  on  climate  change  and  on  the  environment  more  broadly  (for  example  through  the  high  carbon  footprints  of  shipping  food  from  Africa,  or  the  greenhouse  gas  emissions  from  wasted  food),  and  while  it  is  recognised  that  an  increasing  portion  of  urban  populations  are  concerned  with  these  issues,  there  is  still  very  little  space  for  these  groups  to  influence  public  policies  (i.e.  food  procurement)  related  to  food.  Given  that  food  demand  is  inelastic,  and  the  food  market  is  strangling  food  producers,  the  food  system  works  as  a  food  �regime’,  a  system  that  is  very  difficult  to  change.  Procedural  justice  claims  the  right  of  citizens  to  shape  food  policies.   Social  justice  This  is  the  sphere  where  food  justice,  in  the  current  literature,  tends  to  be  mostly  advocated.  In  these  contributions,  food  justice  tends  to  be  discussed  as  mostly  a  question  of   access  (who  has  access  to  what  food)  and  food  choice  (i.e.  the  right  to  fresh  food,  rather  than  just  the  right  to  any  food  to  feed  yourself).  Here,  we  recognise  that  different  classes  and  ethnic  groups  have  different  degrees  of  access  to  quality  food  due  to  education,  income,  availability  in  the  neighbourhood,  access  to  private  or  public  transport,  physical   54   disabilities,  etc.  We  therefore  claim  the  importance  of  focussing  more  broadly  on  the  social  issues  that  impact  on  food  choices.   Economic  justice  As  mentioned  in  the  introduction,  urban  food  justice  also  looks  at  justice  for  workers  in  the  food-­‐growing  sector.  Many  food-­‐growing  projects  are  based  on  exploitative  pay,  self-­‐
exploitation  and  volunteerism,  because  the  market  (defined  as  the  sum  of  both  large  distributors  and  consumers’  expectations)  is  imposing  artificially  low  prices,  based  on  a  generalised  exploitation  of  the  sector  across  countries.  Urban  food  justice  cannot  ignore  considerations  of  the  actual  social,  productive  and  environmental  costs  of  food.   Food  sovereignty  There  are  a  number  of  definitions  of  food  sovereignty.  Here  I  essentially  refer  to  sovereignty  as  the  right  of  individuals  to  eat  food  that  is  appropriate  to  their  cultural  and  ethical  needs.  This  might  overlap  with  some  of  the  issues  mentioned  above,  but  not  completely.  I  want  to  point  out  that  food,  as  a  fundamental  component  of  our  reproductive  capacity,  crucially  constitutes  what  we  are.  It  is  our  flesh  and  our  mind.  It  nurtures  our  body,  it  is  our  source  of  energy  and  strength,  happiness  and  health.  It  activates  our  sensors.  It  is  part  of  our  identity.  It  is  so  embedded  in  our  body  that  the  ethical  dimensions  of  food  are  particularly  crucial.  It  is  estimated  that  70%  of  child  labour  exploitation  happens  in  the  agriculture  sector.  Can  we  really  enjoy  food  that  we  know  was  produced  by  children  of  school  age?  Can  we  stuff  ourselves  with  food  produced  on  fields  stolen  from  starving  populations?  Can  we  deny  the  need  to  control  the  source  of  our  food?  Can  we  rightly  be  denied  the  right  to  grow  our  own?    A  range  of  (innovative)  options  I  want  to  conclude  this  booklet  by  listing  4  basic  principles  for  the  construction  of  a  more  just  urban  food  system:  1)  share  the  land,  either  private  or  public,  rebuild  the  commons;  2)  plant  and  grow  food.  This  is  good  for  your  mental  health,  community  food  footprints  and  for  the  planet;  3)  enjoy  your  produce,  eat  it,  share  it.  Conviviality,  which  is  enjoying  food  collectively,  is  an  amazing  experience.  It  can  also  help  to  re-­‐learn  how  to  cook;  4)  compost  your  waste  properly.  All  your  waste.  Including  your  human  manure.  If  we  close  the  circle  of  nutrients  we  don’t  deplete  the  environment.  Actually  making  soil  is  a  very  powerful  act,  that  brings  you  closer  to  the  mystery,  and  the  beauty,  of  life.    1.  share  land  2.  plant  food  4.  compost  your  waste  3.  enjoy  your  produce     55   Suggested  reading  Introductory  readings  Crouch  D.  and  Ward  C.  1988:  The  allotment.  Its  landscape  and  culture.  Nottingham:  Five  Leaves  Publications.  Cockrall-­‐king  J.  2012:  Food  and  the  city.  New  York:  Prometheus  Books.  Nordahl  D.  2009:  Public  produce.  The  new  urban  agriculture.  Washington:  Island  Press.  Steel  C.  2008:  Hungry  City.  How  Food  Shapes  Our  Lives.  London:  Vintage.  Reynolds  R.  2008:  On  Guerrilla  Gardening:  A  Handbook  for  Gardening  without  Boundaries.  London:  Bloomsbury  Publishing  PLC.  Gottlieb  R.  and  Joshi  A.  2010:  Food  Justice.  Cambridge  (MA)  and  London  (England):  MIT.  Lyson  T.  A.  2004:  Civic  Agriculture.  Reconnecting  Farm,  Food  and  Community.  Medford  MA:  Tufts  University  Press.  Patel  R.  2013:  Stuffed  and  Starved:  From  Farm  to  Fork,  The  Hidden  Battle  for  the  World  Food  System,  London:  Portobello  Books   Further  reading:  Atkinson  A.  2013:  Readjusting  to  reality.  City:  analysis  of  urban  trends,  culture,  theory,  policy,  action  17,  85-­‐96.  Dooling  S.  2009:  Ecological  gentrification:  a  research  agenda  exploring  justice  in  the  city.  International  Journal  of  Urban  and  Regional  Research  33,  621-­‐639.  Garnett  T.  2000:  Urban  agriculture  in  London:  rethinking  our  food  economy.  In  Bakker  et  al.  editors,  Growing  Cities,  Growing  Food:  Urban  Agriculture  on  the  Policy  Agenda,  DSE,  2000,  on-­‐line  at:  http://www.ruaf.org/sites/default/files/London.PDF  [last  accessed:  March  2013].  Girardet  H.  2006:  Creating  sustainable  cities.  Schumacher  Briefings.  Totnes:  Green  Books.  Gliessman  S.  2012:  Agroecology:  Growing  the  Roots  of  Resistance.  Agroecology  and  sustainable  food  systems,  37,  19-­‐31.  Holt-­‐Giménez  E.,  editor,  2011:  Food  Movements  Unite!,  Oakland,  CA:  Food  First  Books  Kaufman  J.  2010:  The  food  bubble.  How  Wall  Street  starved  millions  and  got  away  with  it.  Harper’s  Magazine,  July  2010.  Available  online:   http://frederickkaufman.typepad.com/files/the-­‐food-­‐bubble-­‐pdf.pdf  [Last  accessed  March  2013].  Kaufman  J.  and  Bailkey  M.  2000:  Farming  inside  cities:  entrepreneurial  urban  agriculture  in  the  US.  Lincoln  Institute  of  Land  Policy,  on-­‐line  Working  paper.  Lawson  L.  J.  2005:  City  bountiful:  A  century  of  community  gardening  in  America.  University  of  California  Press.  McClintock  N.  2013:  Radical,  reformist,  and  garden-­‐variety  neoliberal:  coming  to  terms  with  urban  agriculture’s  contradictions.  Local  Environment:  The  International  Journal  of  Justice  and  Sustainability  ,  published  online,  1-­‐25.  Morgan  K.  2009:  Feeding  the  City:  The  Challenge  of  Urban  Food  Planning.  International  Planning  Studies,  14(4),  pp.  341-­‐348   56   Pinkerton  T.  and  Hopkins  R.  2009:  Local  Food.  How  to  make  it  happen  in  your  community.  Totnes:  Green  Books.  Richardson  T.  and  Kingsbury  N.  editors,  2005:  Vista.  The  culture  and  politics  of  gardens.  London:  Frances  Lincoln.  Saed  2012:  Urban  Farming:  The  Right  to  What  Sort  of  City?  Capitalism  Nature  Socialism  23,  1-­‐9.  Tornaghi  C.  2014:  Critical  geography  of  urban  agriculture,  in  Progress  in  Human  Geography,  published  online  5  February  2014  DOI:  10.1177/0309132513512542.  The  online  version  of  this  article  can  be  found  at:  http://phg.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/02/04/0309132513512542  Urban  Agriculture  Committee  of  the  Community  Food  Security  Coalition  (CFSC)  2003:  Urban  Agriculture  and  Community  Food  Security  in  the  United  States:  Farming  from  the  City  Center  to  the  Urban  Fringe.  Online  at:  http://www.foodsecurity.org/PrimerCFSCUAC.pdf   [Last  accessed  March  2013].  Viljoen  A.  and  Wiskerke  J.S.C.  editors,  2012:  Sustainable  food  planning.  Evolving  theory  and  practice.  Wageningen:  Wageningen  Academic  Publishers.  Viljoen  A.  editor,  2005:  Continuous  Productive  Urban  Landscapes:  Designing  Urban  Agriculture  for  Sustainable  Cities,  Burlington  MA  and  Oxford:  Architectural  Press.  Whitehead  M.  2013:  Neoliberal  urban  environmentalism  and  the  adaptive  city.  Urban  Studies  50,  1348-­‐67  Wittman  H.,  Desmarais  A.A.,  Wiebe  N.  (eds.),  2010,  Food  sovereignty.  Reconnecting  food,  nature  &  community,  Oakland,  CA:  Food  First  Books         57   
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