In 2020, Grow Wakefield supported their local communities through engaging with food growing across their 12 growing sites. They've now got big aims to gain charity status so they can further embed food growing into the community.
Starting off as a small community group in Horbury in 2010, Grow Wakefield, previously known as Incredible Edible Wakefield, came about in response to the needs of the locals regarding access of space for individual food growing, and requests from landowners for help improving overgrown public green spaces.
The social enterprises mission statement is “to provide opportunities for improved wellbeing through growing, learning and volunteering by creating community allotments, gardens and workshops across the district”, with a focus on engaging all members of community including those underrepresented in food growing, put simply,
“if you eat, you’re in”.
Grow Wakefield currently works with individuals, community groups, schools, businesses, housing associations and public bodies across the district. They have 12 community allotment gardens around Wakefield with over 100 mini allotment plots, most of which are in some of the most deprived areas, ensuring those most vulnerable have access to freshly grown, organic and locally sourced fruit and vegetables.
Once the pandemic hit, Grow Wakefield continued to engage with its local communities more than ever particularly in response to those who needed support most. Throughout the lockdowns, Grow Wakefield distributed 720 seed activity packs (28,000 seeds in total), commissioned by Live Well Wakefield, advertising said packs on Facebook under the hashtag #StayHomeAndGrowYourOwn.
They also supported over 22,000 hours of food growing activity through the use of their mini allotment plots, as well as their Edible Gardening Clubs and Help Us Grow sessions and reached over 460,000 contacts via talks, walks, demonstrations, stalls, e-bulletins, website hits and social media posts to inspire thousands to try growing their own food.
For the future, Grow Wakefield aspire become a charity organisation, so that they can better support their expanding network, specifically in five main areas; community land regeneration, allotment management, basic horticultural training, health and wellbeing, and learning outside the classroom.