Over the last year Social Farms & Gardens (SF&G) has witnessed a huge rise in interest in community growing. Both the pandemic and Brexit have exposed food supply-chain weaknesses and SF&G has responded in Northern Ireland with growing and seed-saving initiatives. These responses met the immediate need, and SF&G is now looking to the future and the increasing interest in food growing for health, community and economic reasons.
Due to an unprecedented number of queries from communities about finding land for community growing, Social Farms & Gardens approached the UK-wide Urban Agriculture Consortium (UAC) for support to help examine what local policies are necessary to bring excess public land into short, medium, and long-term productive use as simply and quickly as possible.
In partnership with DTNI and the Urban Agriculture Consortium, SF&G has designed this series of action-focused workshops – designed for council staff and councillors in Northern Ireland – to look at the process of facilitating community-managed public land, both UK-wide and locally in NI.
We will examine the support the process needs, and work together over the course of the three workshops to identify ways to strengthen and develop policy and increase awareness in communities. We will also investigate the potential of community management of land for food growing to:
- achieve council objectives in health and community development,
- make best use of council estate and
- deliver a healthy social return on investment.
The first workshop on Monday 19 April features Jeremy Iles of the Urban Agriculture Consortium, Declan Donnelly of Cloughmills Community Action Team (and Causeway Coast & Glens Council officer) and Charlie Fisher of Development Trusts NI.
MON 19 APRIL 2-3:30PM
The UK and NI policy context, and benefits of community access to land.
MON 10 MAY 2-3:30PM
Typical barriers and solutions, with detailed case studies and facilitated problem solving.
MON 24 MAY 2-3:30PM
Action planning. Co-designing action your staff team can take to embed practical policy in your working practice.