Hull residents given new Right to Grow Food in historic council motion
Hull City Council unanimously adopted a motion to empower local communities with a formalised Right To Grow food on public land. The initiative, which has been pursued by residents in Hull since 2020, is based on a national campaign by Incredible Edible which seeks to radically change the way public land is used.
The Right to Grow campaign calls for a change to the law which would require local authorities to maintain lists of public land suitable for community food growing and to offer straight-forward, free leases to community groups wanting to create gardens for food growing and nature spaces. The motion in Hull, which is yet to pass through a scrutiny committee, is the first in the country to offer this Right to Grow.
Anna Route of Hull Food Partnership has helped guide this process locally with representation from communities and individuals. Anna said:
"We are delighted to see this issue get true cross-party support and we aim to work together productively on making the Right to Grow in Hull a reality. Everyone should have the ability to access good quality locally produced food regardless of their background or income, and we want to remove as many barriers to feeding people well as possible. Having a Right to Grow is just part of the mosaic of good food provision in Hull that we can build on.”
The Right to Grow campaign exists as an exercise in practical hope and community resilience on a backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis, food shortages, global conflict, climate change and the continued efforts to recover from the pandemic which all impact upon food security.
Pam Warhurst of Incredible Edible is a proponent of the power of small action and believes that system change is urgently needed. Pam said:
“The time is right to rethink how we use land to feed people. People up and down the country are doing the hard work of producing food in and with the community, but projects are often thwarted by red-tape and through challenges accessing permission to grow on public land. It’s fantastic that Hull is the first in the country to move a Right to Grow motion and Demonstrate a belief in the power of small local actions.”
The Right to Grow initiative has recently received broad support during debates in the House of Lords, and the campaign is backed by organisations such as the Soil Association and Sustain as well as a large number of local Food Partnerships around the country.
Leon Ballin from the Soil Association believes this motion can provide inspiration for others, including via the Sustainable Food Places program, which is a partnership led by the Soil Association, Food Matters and Sustain. Leon said:
"The success of this motion shows the power of partnership working in action. The network of 94 Sustainable Food Places members across the UK will be able to look to Hull as they lead the way on the Right to Grow."