Feed Leeds, the local food growers' network, are taking a leaf out of Aberdeen and other cities' books by encouraging experienced gardeners to Sow A Row Xtra to share and donate.
The project has two targets, supplying specific in-need groups and supporting anyone with a keen interest in growing food but no way to get started.
Many of the seedlings will be added to 'Friendship Boxes' also containing donated tools, compost and advice on how and where to grow, and then handed to asylum-seekers, refugees and families in hardship. This part of the project, called Growing Friendship, is being funded by National Lottery Community Funding, and managed by Feed Leeds member Season Well, in partnership with Leeds Asylum Seekers’ Support Network (LASSN).
Becky Mears from Feed Leeds and Season Well said,
"We knew from LASSN and similar organisations that there are plenty of people in Leeds desperate to grow their own food but who lack the funds or a suitable place to plant. So as well as providing seedlings and tools, we're running food-growing workshops with LASSN, and also finding, or even creating, new veg plots close to where people live - even if some may need to be just pots or tubs, which can actually deliver a surprisingly bumper harvest!"
Feed Leeds are also working with FoodWise Leeds under the #getgrowingleeds banner to promote the consumption of fruit and veg in the city using funding from Veg Cities. Anyone who lacks the funds, space or skills to grow from seed will be welcome to collect excess seedlings and, when available, spare Friendship Boxes from the Xchange sites.
Tom Bliss, from Feed Leeds and FoodWise Leeds, said,
"We just love this idea. It helps us to share the joy that seeing those first tips poking through the compost always generates. It provides tangible help to people in real need, and it gets everyone thinking about the multiple benefits of getting out in your garden, allotment, community plot, school - or wherever you can poke in a trowel, and start growing your own delicious food. We fully expect to see even more people getting into gardening this year than last - booting out those lockdown blues with a spring burst of greens!"
For more information on how to get involved, check out the Feed Leeds website
FoodWise Leeds are also supporting growing spaces to celebrate #GoodtoGrow2021 happening on 23-26 April. If you'd like to celebrate all things communty growing, please register your garden for free and join in.