New Leeds based project highlights social connection through food growing
Growing Friendship is a new project providing seedlings, tools and other inputs, as well as training workshops for asylum seekers, refugees and people in food hardship to grow and harvest vegetables at home or other growing spaces around Leeds.
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Participants at growing workshop. Credit: Growing Well
Growing Friendship is the latest in a series of #getgrowingleeds initiatives that have emerged since the pandemic to support people to grow food, which also includes Sow a Row Xtra, Little Veg Libraries and Leeds Hedge Veg. It is run by Season Well, Leeds Asylum Seekers Support Network, FoodWise Leeds and Feed Leeds and funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.
The seedlings are grown by experienced volunteer food growers from around Leeds and dropped at Meanwood Valley Urban Farm collection point ready to be picked by anyone interested in growing. The project gives out growing advice via a community Facebook Page. They have run growing workshops in Harehills and Aireborough, giving out growing packs of seedlings; compost; pots and tools for people who would struggle to get their own.
The team is planning Harvest workshops in September in Meanwood Valley Urban Farm, Yeadon Westfield Junior School and CATCH at Harehills to celebrate what everyone has grown and swap recipes and cooking ideas.
Becky Mears of Season Well says: “By encouraging experienced food growers to grow extra seedlings to share with people who are new to food growing, this project creates a support network of new food growers and new friendships that wouldn’t happen otherwise. This is what inspired the name of the project in the first place. We hope that new friendships along with delicious fresh vegetables and confident new food growers result from this new collaboration.”
Sustain are encouraging more areas to launch Veg Cities campaigns and get local businesses and organisations making veg pledges. Veg Cities is a campaign of Sustainable Food Places and is run in partnership with Peas Please.