Urban Agriculture in Leeds, UK
Part 7 of Helen Eva Babbs’ series for Kitchen Garden about urban agriculture
By Helen Eva Babbs
July 28, 2012
Also on the outskirts of the city, Bardon Grange was once a manor house and is now a university hall of residence. Here another vegetable garden sits inside old walls. Students often have a bad reputation when it comes to food, but the University of Leeds’ community growing project here proves that some can get very excited about salad.
“There was lots of interest from students but it was clear that they wanted training and support, not just to be let loose with some land” explains Lizzie Fellows, project coordinator. “We run a few formal workshops a year, plus weekly informal gardening sessions, and we have a paid grower who works two days a week.”
“There’s no commitment required – people can just turn up and be as involved as they like. We do offer £5 annual membership, which builds a sense of ownership. Sometimes it’s quite hard to persuade people to take the produce, but we can rely on our regular volunteers both to work and eat!”
The Bardon Grange Project is neither insular nor completely reliant on funding. “The idea is that the project also benefits the wider community and helps with cohesion between students and non-students” says Lizzie.
“We sell plants and run sessions with schools and community groups, which both bring in an income. There’s a compost pile that people can help themselves to, in exchange for a donation. We also sell bags of salad and herbs at the Student Union and in a shop in Headingley, and we sell loose salad to the student refectory.”